Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Home (Part 2)

Protect your home improvement investment dollars…
Choosing your contractor or service provider is a critical decision.

Just like we promised, here’s your next piece on “how to choose your contractor” should you need some guidance when comparing companies…

You’ll want someone you can trust and count on, a service provider who will deliver a quality service and experience, making sure to do what they say they’d do, when they said they would. But with the competition in the home services industry today, it’s not always easy choosing and finding the right service provider…

So when it comes time to start looking, keep these in mind…

  • People friendly, or not so much? – First impressions say a lot – in fact, the first experience you have with a service company can either make or break a future relationship. Friendliness, a ‘willing to serve and assist’, and a ‘how can I help your day’ attitude should be some of the first things you notice. Customer service should be an experience, not another transaction.
  • Please leave a message after the beep… – Are you continuously receiving an answering machine, a series of automations, or unanswered emails? Not being able to get in touch with your contractor or service provider, especially when you need them most, is a nothing more than a hassle and an inconvenience. You’ll want to make sure they’re available to you, especially when it really matters! But if you do happen to catch them after business hours, you’ll want to make sure they return your calls or e-mails in a timely manner.
  • Do they effectively handle complaints or other issues? – Defensive and unapologetic? If this is the type of customer service others have received when things don’t go as planned it should be a warning sign. When things don’t go as planned you’ll want to observe how they work to handle and correct things and what they do to make your situation right. Don’t tolerate the many shoddy service providers out there today who treat homeowners as unimportant.
  • Communication…should be crystal clear – Services, treatments and other jobs should be explained to you in a clear and uncomplicated manner…none of this ‘jargon’ nonsense. You should look for a customer service staff who has plenty of knowledge on the services their company provides. If they really don’t understand or know the “ins and outs”, how are they going to best meet your needs and ensure your confidence?
  • Consistency matters – You’ll likely do some back and forth communication with your home service provider, but you may not always speak with the same person. And while the individual with whom you communicate may change from time to time, the service and experience they provide should not.

While customer service can be a critical factor when it comes to choosing your contractor or home service provider, we know it doesn’t stand alone…

Would you let a stranger into your home?

With the home services industry growing, choosing your contractor or service provider isn’t exactly easy. So, how do you choose? – Especially given all the resources available on the internet, it’s no wonder you may find yourself confused with all the conflicting information out there…

  • Who are they? – Most company websites offer an “About Us” section. This is a great way to get details about the owners, their business, their values, their services and how they operate. Whoever you choose, get to know them before any work begins. It’s also not a bad idea to call in and request to speak with an owner or general manager for some more personable feedback and information.
  • Permanent business location – You’ll want to be sure there’s an actual place of business and that there’s more to ’em than just a truck and cell phone. If there isn’t, who’s to say they’re not here one day and gone the next? Get business hours and address details, drive by, stop in and have a look!
  • Business affiliations – Professional companies are usually members of State, regional, or national service-related organizations…and having such affiliations suggests they’re interested in excellence and progressive thinking – so ask for a list of their affiliations.
  • Check some references – The Better Business Bureau (BBB – 609.588.0808) and sites like Angie’s List can help you find reports on a company’s current standing, registered complaints, and inquiries and how they’ve dealt with them. What they do when a mistake is made often is what separates the good ones from the bad.
  • Insurance, licenses, certifications? – To verify coverage, request copies of insurance certificates from the company. You probably want to hire a professional contractor who is licensed or certified…right? Be sure licenses and certifications are current and applicable. If the company isn’t willing to provide this information, could they be hiding something?
  • Make sure you know who you’re letting into your home – Find out what the employee screening policies are, along with their hiring process. Are employees certified to do the work you need? What does their training and experience look like? You probably wouldn’t let a stranger into your home and the same rule should apply for a contractor or service provider as well!

While it may take some time to do the research, you’ll thank yourself once you’ve done your proper due diligence to protect yourself and your investment. Why settle for anything less?