How to Screen a Home Service Contractor Before You Hire
There are all kinds of tasks that could require you to hire home service contractors. When you hear the word “contractor” you might think of someone who owns a contracting business that hires out for home renovations. But home service contractors can also include the skilled and experienced technicians you hire to inspect, clean, and repair your HVAC system, or the companies that contract out for a variety of home maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters, washing windows, and so on. Your plumber, electrician, handyman, gardener, and pool cleaning service also fall under this category. So you can see that there is actually a wide range of home service contractors that may visit your home regularly or on an as-needed basis. And of course, you want to find service providers that are reliable, trustworthy, and good at what they do. Here are just a few screening guidelines that should help you to find the right contractor for the job.
The best place to start is with referrals. Everybody needs annual services like water heater and HVAC maintenance. And while there are certainly those gonzo DIY types that flush their own water heater and snake their own drains, at least some of the people you call family, friends, and trusted colleagues probably contract out for the majority of their home maintenance needs. Let’s face it: we all lead busy lives and few of us have time to learn how to properly conduct home inspections and maintenance. So whatever type of service contractor you’re looking for, you can likely find a few people to give you recommendations. And if several people offer you the same name, you’ll have a good idea where to start. You can also do your homework by checking in with sites like Yelp and Angie’s List to find highly ranked contractors or even scope out the list of names you got from your loved ones.
From there you’ll need to narrow your list and select a service contractor that meets your needs, and the best way is to call for information or schedule consultations, depending on the type of work you’re having done. If all you need is a simple HVAC maintenance or your water heater flushed, you can likely find out cost and availability of various contractors simply by calling them. And this form of comparison shopping shouldn’t take long. The contractors that fail to answer your call or call you back in a timely manner may be too busy to meet your needs. And those that are terse on the phone aren’t likely to be terribly personable in person. So you can at least get an idea of who you might want to hire. And if you’re looking for a contractor for a project of larger scope, such as a kitchen remodel, you’ll certainly want to have candidates come to your home to get the details and provide a bid.
It’s sort of surprising how difficult hiring contractors can be, but if you exercise due diligence when it comes to comparison shopping and you ask the right questions you should be able to find a contractor that meets your criteria; one that is licensed and bonded (as required by your state), one that is knowledgeable and experienced, one that is reliable and easy to reach, and one that is trustworthy, not to mention affordable. It’s a tall order, but finding reputable home service contractors like Puget Services just takes time and effort. The end result will be a professional relationship that lasts a lifetime, and a contractor you can recommend the next time someone asks you for a referral.