Tips for Hiring a Contractor for Home Repairs

deck boards removed for repair

Hiring a Contractor

When we bought our old house, I knew it was going to be a lot of work and there was work we would not be able to do ourselves.  This meant that we would need to hiring a contractor to help with the work.

Even before buying this house, I had worked with some pretty awesome contractors so I thought I knew the good from the bad. We sought recommendations from friends and have gotten burnt a few times trying to support small local businesses. So sharing our experience, may help you avoid some of our pitfalls.

dumpster full of trash

Have They Done Work For You?

Not all friends have the same caliber of ‘good contractor mentality’.  Just because a friend suggestions them, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions. We had HVAC contractor that took over 6 months to complete work, and we ended up hiring someone else to complete the work (recommended by a friend).  

scaffolding on chimney repair

Ask Questions To Contractors

Here are things to ask when looking for a good contractor:

  • How long have you been doing this work (electric, HVAC, home renovations)?
  • How long have you been working in this area (city, county). – this tells you if the possibly had to move to another county, city to do work because they suck and ruined their reputation where they live.
  • Have you done the kind of work we need done before?
  • How long with it take you to get the job done? This sets expectations.
  • What if it takes longer? How many jobs they are currently working on in addition to yours.
  • Do you offer a discount if you cannot meet this deadline and the delay is not caused by me?
  • When is your busy season? This will tell you if you might get delayed if there are power outages affecting work load.
  • Ask for referrals of previous jobs.
    • I would then ask these people how well the contractor communicated with them about the job.
    • Ask how the quality of work was that they had done.
    • Would they want this person to come back and do additional work.
  • Will they file the needed permits to get the work done?
  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • If you have to sign a contract, can you get out of the contract if they suck.
  • How prompted they were on returning calls?  Did the answer your calls or did you have to call them again and again and again and again….and were they polite. This should be considered before you agree to do business with them.
  • Did the contractor arrive when they said they would (day and time promised)

Do Your Own Research

After you get this information, you’ll want to do your own research.

  • Check for their business Facebook page and look for online reviews and comments.
  • Search online by their company name to seek out additional comments, complaints, lawsuits.
  • Check the better business bureau to see if they have reviews or complaints filed.
  • Ask in local online groups if people have done business with this company before.

It’s not only about the cost of the job or the quality of work performed.  What is your timeline to get the job completed?  How does this person communication and their timeliness to complete work.  What’s important to you?  How much stress do you want and do you want to have to hound someone to get work done?

Also pay attention to how they communicate. Does their story change? Do they push out start dates. We had a contractor push out start times and delay installing materials. Nothing was ever their fault. Later we found out that theyhad lawsuits against them for poor business management.

bad hidden wire repair

When you find a great contractor, cherish and appreciate them.  They are sometimes hard to find!

And if you can’t hire a contractor to do the work you need, you can find ways to spruce up your kitchen yourself or maybe you want to tackle doing your own drywall or fix pavers. But definitely hire professionals for the heavy lifting tasks and know your limits.

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