Are you dealing with a leaky faucet in your bathroom or kitchen? Do you need some shingles replaced in that old roof that was still on the house when you bought it? Maybe you need a new front door installed, or even a new fence put up in your backyard? Or maybe your furnace has stopped working? Or maybe your air conditioner is making a funny noise?
Like it or not, there are a myriad of things that can go wrong. And you know what they say… if it can go wrong, it will! Well, even if you have better luck than that, odds are very good that, at some point down the road, you are going to find yourself in a situation where something is going to break down. Maybe it will be minor, or maybe it will be major, but there is one thing that you can be sure of: unless you are interested in fixing it yourself, you are going to need to hire a contractor to get it done for you.
If you think that hiring a contractor is kind of a scary thought, I don’t really blame you. All of us have heard horror stories about unscrupulous ‘professionals’ who did a poor job and charged more money than they had estimated, only to leave the homeowner confused, frustrated, and in a tough situation. Is that how all contractors are? Of course not! The key is to figure out how to weed out the bad ones so that you can hire the good ones!
Here are 5 tips that will help you to do just that.
1. Ask Friends and Family
One of the best ways to find a contractor is to ask people close to you who they have hired before. Getting someone referred to you by a friend or family member that you trust can be one of the best ways to get in touch with an honest, reputable contractor. As a precaution, you should still check into what kind of a job they did, just to make sure that the results are similar to what you have in mind.
2. Check the Newspaper
The business section of the newspaper is a great way to find contractors in your area. A lot of professionals use the newspaper as an advertising medium, especially in smaller communities.
When using the newspaper to find contractors, always get more than one bid. It is never a bad idea to have at least three different professionals bidding on the same project. This will allow you to gauge the professionalism of each one against the others, which will most likely reveal who the most experienced. When it comes to contracting out repair work for your home, it is important to go with someone who knows what they are doing… not just the guy with the lowest price!
Here is a brief checklist that can help you to further investigate any possible contractors that you might be considering for your project. If you can answer yes to these questions, then there is a good chance that you are on the right track to the right kind of professional!
- Does this contractor seem qualified?
- Are you getting a competitive price?
- Does this contractor have references available?
- Have you gotten good reviews from any references?
- Does this contractor seem to have a detailed, general knowledge of the industry?
- Is this contractor legally registered and licensed to do the work needed?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you are probably headed in the right direction with your choices.
3. Look on Angieslist.com
Angieslist.com is an online review service where you can find and leave reviews about local professionals. The best thing about Angieslist.com is the fact that it is completely consumer driven. This means that companies and businesses are not allowed to advertise or leave themselves reviews. Plus, this feature is policed and monitored by the website, because they need to follow up and verify with every review before they will allow it to be posted to the website.
Whether you are looking for a professional to install cedar fencing in your yard, a carpenter to add onto your house, or an electrician to fix that broken porch light… you will be able to find honest, fair reviews of local professionals on Angieslist.com. We also used the great resources and advice found at www.a1-fence.com where there are lots of design ideas.
Finding a contractor is not always easy, but with a little bit of fact finding and investigation, you can make the process a ton easier on yourself by eliminating so-called ‘professionals’ who might make your problem worse!
Melissa Cameron is a wife, a mother of two, and also a successful freelance writer. She lives in Austin, Texas, and enjoys yoga, fitness, eco-friendly living, and staying in shape! She actually got inspired to write this article while utilizing websites to research the price difference between professional Milwaukee fence companies and those from her hometown of Austin. Because she’s thinking of doing home project, Melissa decided that she wanted to impart some helpful tips to her readers for finding reputable, honest contractors.