It’s no small task to hire someone to work on your house.
Even if you have a starting point — say, a neighbor’s recommendation for a great electrician — you’ll still have to put in the time to fully vet the contractor before handing over the master key to your front door.
Hiring a pro is a big decision, so make sure your decision-making process is spot on the first time.
Here are the four stages of hiring the perfect pro to finish your home’s to-do list:
DIY or not.
Every homeowner has a decision to make: Do you try to go it alone, or do you call in a professional to do it right the first time?
So when something breaks in your house, evaluate the damage on a scale of DIY to Don’t.
Sure, a little Drano might take care of the clog in your shower, but do you feel the same level of proficiency for installing your recently purchased dishwasher? Or for fixing an outlet that produces an inconsistent current?
And there are other considerations as well: You might feel comfortable cleaning your own gutters, but what if you didn’t have the right size ladder?
Thinking through these details ensure that you’ll be confident in your decision to spend the money to bring a pro into your home.
Reputation: It matters.
No matter the scale of the work you need done in your house — be it a clogged sink or a full kitchen remodel — the contractor you choose will be in your most sacred of spaces: your home.
You need to hire someone you can trust. So before you put money down on any home-service pro, ask your neighbors if they’ve ever hired the pro you have in mind.
(It’s helpful to get your neighbors’ perspectives, as they might be able to recommend someone who’s done work on the other houses in the neighborhood.)
Double-check everything online; many pros with long service records will have the same on review sites, so you’ll be able to back up his or her work history with pictures and reviews from sites like Yelp.
Trying to get the best price on your home projects goes hand-in-hand with investigating the reputation of the pro you’re hiring to do the work.
Beware of any prices that sound too rock-bottom to be true. Pros who know their market and have the most experience in a certain specialty will charge you accordingly.
Aspiring contractors with little experience will seem like a comparative steal, but think about the long-term effects: You may end up investing more in the long term if you bring in someone at a lower price and an equally low level of experience.
On the flip side, though, a high price tag isn’t an acceptable substitute for knowing a pro’s experience, and you’re much more likely to feel price gouged if you don’t get a handful of quotes from nearby pros to get an idea of the high, low, and median for your project.
Negotiate and schedule.
Not the other way around.
Within these negotiations should be some guidelines set around the timing of your project — an easy thing to predict if you’ve got a small repair to make, but a much tougher thing to do if you’re staring down a remodel.
Cost and time are typically tied tightly to each other, and you’ll want to keep an eye on the time in order to lasso in the price tag for the project.
And the best way to do this? Get it in writing.
Have both your signature and the pro’s on a tidy document outlining the time frame of the work and the cost associated with the labor and materials.
Tip: A reputable pro won’t ask you for more than 15% of the cost up front, so be wary of any contractor who wants your payment before the work has begun.
The bottom line.
Sure, it’s a lot to consider, and the process of choosing one might take awhile, so it’s best to proactively work on projects before they become a hazard to your life.
But your home — arguably the largest investment you’ll ever make — is worth getting the right pro the first time.
This post was provided by RedBeacon, the best way to find trusted pros for your home. Find out how much home services cost using their free price estimator. Stop overpaying for home repairs today!