Somehow when you need a contractor, you feel —at their mercy! You know the job to be done is more than your own skill level. In addition, of course, you want it done right.
So, when looking for the right contractor to complete a service; step back and ask yourself, “What is most important to me? What level of work will ultimately satisfy me?”
Therefore, if the first thing out of your mouth is how much will it cost, you need to step back one-step. Gather as much information yourself on the home improvement or service you have in mind, plan your idea and set a realistic budget, before asking how much.
Having hired and talked with thousands of contractors over my life, never once have I ever heard one of them say, “I do lousy work”.
Asking friends, family or neighbors is a start in the right direction however; each of us has our own DNA that sets us apart from one another. Your next home improvement starts with your concept, an idea, dream or your personal needs. Keep in mind that the services you are about to hire out will become very personal. You are inviting a perfect stranger into your home and life; which they will become a part of your daily routine.
We all see the outcome of a job differently; it makes us who we are. You might also say what a boring world it would be if everyone saw things only one-way. Ask yourself “would I hire a bridge painter to faux finish my bathroom or hire a rough carpenter to build a cabinet?” Most projects go south for more than one reason: Here are a few.
I asked our best friend and he recommended this person and their quality was not what I thought it would be. I am so mad at my friend for recommending this contractor.
When asking someone you know for a referral, explain the scope of work as clearly as you can and what you are looking for. Ask the contractor if you can see their work beforehand and get at least one or two other contractors to bid the job.
I have always been told to get three bids and we ended up getting five. The pricing was all over the place and we cannot figure out which one to go with.
Try to get a ballpark estimate to be your guide and have a specification or blue print now you are able to compare apples to apples; do not keep fishing for the lowest price. If the quotes are not within your budget, consider cutting back or doing some of the work yourself.
We went with the lowest bid. The final price we paid was higher than the original highest price quoted, we feel the quality was poor and now the person will not return our call.
Set a realistic budget first, depending on the job size get up to three bids, write down and ask the same questions to each contractor. Accept only detailed written estimates with a scope of the work, timeline, materials, payment schedule, guarantee and what each party is responsible for before, during and after the project.
We trusted the contractor we hired would do the job we wanted and after returning from vacation, we found our home to be a complete mess.
Make yourself available and part of the process, be accessible to answer a question or feel comfortable to ask questions during the entire job. Do not assume anything and keep control of the project for your desired outcome. Once you have hired a contractor, remember you are the boss and workers need your guidance.
Ask yourself “can I complete any part of the project myself and do I have the time, the tools and the skill set required?” When considering doing the job yourself always consider what if you should get hurt while performing the task. Saving time and peace of mind may be worth the cost of hiring a pro, even if you would prefer to “do it yourself.”
While the idea is still fresh in your mind, or you are planning your next step with your architect, interior designer, contractor or advisor write them down. Remember the widgets are easy to touch, feel and compare quality vs. price. Matching you with a contractor who has the skills to get the service part of the job done right is another set of issues.
When considering hiring someone for a service it starts with a realistic expectation and desired outcome based on your budget. One of the most important components of a service is to establish a standard before any work begins and refer back to it when differences arise. Set a budget, have a detailed specification and have all your questions answered before making a final discussion.
Go to where you are most comfortable to find a contractor starting from the worst places to better places: a sign on the street corner, Craig’s list, the local newspaper classified section, a yard sign within your neighbor hood, phone book, Angie’s List, or their Web site on the Internet may be your best choice today. Get more then just a phone number and an advertisement such as; We do Good Work! Or “We Guarantee Lowest Price.” Do your part, get correct information, get an education on the subject, talk with multiple contractors, family members, neighbors and friends ; most of all matching yourself with a contractor that has the skill-sets you are looking to have done and offers you a great value.
Crossing your T’s and doting your I’s beforehand will ensure a successful experience. If you have done your due diligence, have all your facts and figures in order; and most importantly you feel comfortable – then make your decision.
These hiring practices hold true in most all service related fields and I hope your job is done the right way…Your Way.