Hiring the right contractor can be a scary thing. You are letting someone into your home, letting them into your life for a short time. Letting someone into your home is a very big responsibility, one that you should not take lightly. Being aware of a few simple things and taking the time to do your homework will protect your home and family from the damage and heartache that hiring an unreliable contractor can cause.
The first and most important thing to remember is to get references. If someone else has hired the contractor you are considering, and has had a good experience, then you can rest a little easier knowing your experience will probably go well also. The more references you check, and the more people that have had a good experience, the more likely you are hiring someone who is dependable, and can be relied upon to do what they say they are going to do. Listen carefully to how the reference feels about the job that was done, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Next you need to consider your contractors experience. Has he ever done the work you are asking him to do? Make sure you ask these question when you check references also. Has your contractor had any formal education in what he is saying he can do? Not all good contractors have had formal education, some have learned through apprenticeship and experience, and have become very well trained. Ask them how many times they have done a job like you are asking of them.
Another thing to consider is licenses and certifications. There are laws and regulations that state that certain jobs require a license or certification by the contractor doing the job. Some electrical work and plumbing must be done by a licensed contractor, and projects that possibly contain lead hazards must be done by a Certified Lead Renovator. Foregoing these licenses and certifications can lead to serious safety hazards and violations, and very large fines.
Hiring a contractor takes a little time and effort, it’s not just about finding the one who is the least expensive. Your home is a large investment, both financially and emotionally. It’s worth following these few simple steps to make sure the contractor you hire can be trusted to help protect it.