Are you looking for TV repair services or certified auto repair services? Or, do you need house cleaning and window cleaning? Maybe, you’re in search of handyman services? Or, you want to find moving companies?
Whichever you need, it is important to hire a professional and reputable contractor. To help you with your decision-making, we describe the 7-step process for hiring a professional contractor and tips to ensure you work smoothly with them.
The Process for Hiring a Professional Contractor
1. Determine the type of contractor you need.
Get clear about the issue or project at hand and establish the scope of work. This is important as it will determine the type of contractor you need and the size of a company to work with. It will also help prospective companies come up with a quote and work plan for your project.
2. Identify prospective contractors.
Come up with a list of potential contractors. A simple search for say “house cleaning services + your location” on Google will yield numerous results for prospective contractors. You may also seek referrals from your friends and family. Or, you could find contractors through platforms such as HomeAdvisor, HireRush, and Porch among others.
When identifying prospective contractors be on the lookout for scammers. Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- Being asked to pay the full amount upfront.
- Poor communication characterized by unanswered calls or emails, and vague responses.
- No written agreement on the scope of work, timelines, and payments.
- The pressure for immediate hire.
- Numerous negative online reviews and complaints about the company.
- Prices that are significantly lower than the industry rates.
- The pressure to make cash payments only.
3. Check the credibility of prospective contractors.
Visit the contractor’s website to find out the services they offer, their company structure, and then check their reviews.
On platforms such as Yelp, BBB, Google, and PissedConsumer.com, customers narrate their experience with different contractors. On these review websites, you will find the overall rating of a particular contractor, the latest reviews and complaints, and most likely a breakdown of the contractor’s pros and cons. By looking at a prospective contractor’s reviews across various websites, you will be able to determine whether it is reputable or not.
4. Do phone interviews.
Phone interviews are a great way to get a sense of the contractors beyond how they have represented themselves online. During the phone call, ask questions about the company, its services, and its structure. Some important questions to ask include:
- How long has the business been in operation?
- Is it licensed to operate in your location?
- Does it have all the necessary industry-recommended accreditations?
- Is it insured?
- How do you respond to conflicts about an ongoing project?
- Request them for proof of work and multiple references from their past customers.
Pay attention to how well the company representative responds to your questions. Are they professional? Do they answer questions articulately or do they take you around? If they are not willing to communicate the above with you, you might want to look elsewhere.
5. Meet the selected prospective contractors.
Depending on the scope of your project you may or may not need to meet the selected contractors in person. For instance, if you have a huge home remodeling project, it is vital that you meet several contractors before settling down to one. If it’s a smaller project, such as plumbing repairs, you may consider to do the entire hiring process online. Especially, once you have researched the company, read through online reviews, and established that the particular contractor is reputable.
6. Get at least three quotes.
With any project, it is best to get several quotes. Narrow down to at least 3 companies based on customer reviews and how satisfied you were with the interviews, and then request for their quotes. Discuss with each the payment plans and payment methods available. Take some time to research the market rates for the particular services and compare it against the quotes you get from prospective contractors. Finally, pick the quote that best aligns with your needs and budget and request for a contract.
7. Review your contract.
Keenly read through every clause and section of the contract. Ideally, the contract should contain the contractor’s contact information, the scope of the project, timelines, prices and payment plans, a termination clause, and a provision for conflict resolution. Clarify with the contractor any questions or concerns you might have before signing the contract. If satisfied, sign the contract and have the contractor sign their part. Keep a copy of the contract for your future reference and return the other copy to the contractor.
3 Tips When Working with a Professional Contractor
Now that you have identified and hired a reputable contractor, below are some tips to help you work smoothly with them.
Do your part in making the project successful.
For instance, if you have a home remodeling project and you need to move things, organize prior arrangements to give the contractors ample time and space to work on the project. Make payments on time as per your agreed payment plan.
Regularly inspect the work.
Stop by the project site regularly to ensure things are going well. For bigger projects, schedule regular check-in meetings with the contractor to discuss progress and any issues that might have come up.
In case of conflict, endeavor to resolve them professionally.
Communicate with the people on the ground what the issue is. If they do not resolve, follow up with a phone call or an in-person conversation with the supervisors. If that does not work, write to the company’s management about the issue.
If all the attempts to resolve the issue with the company fail, then seek resolution through third party agencies such as the attorney general’s office, the local consumer protection office, or other dispute resolution programs. You may also consider leaving your complaint on a review website such as PissedConsumer to attract the contractor’s attention and warn other prospective customers.
The most important step in ensuring your project or issue will be handled effectively, and within a reasonable time frame and budget is to hire a licensed contractor with a good reputation. This can be achieved by doing your due diligence and being thorough with the above 7-step hiring process.