Hiring a contractor is easily done, but making sure you find the right contractor for your project takes a little more time and effort. It might save you time to cut corners and hire the first person you come across, but it could end up costing you literally thousands of dollars down the road, or even the safety of your home and family.
Whether you need a plumber for a plugged drain, an electrician for a complete rewire of your house, or a general contractor to build your new shop or garage, make sure you find someone who can work with your needs and your budget, and get the job done right the first time.
An hour or two of researching and talking to potential contractors is all you need. A great contractor should be able to provide company information, detailed contact information, any required educational certificates for workers on site, several great references from past clients or other contractors, and any other necessary documentation.
So, where can you find a great contractor? Of course, this is the age of technology, and often the first resource consulted when a service is required is the internet.
The first rule of internet searching? Don’t hire someone off Kijiji without checking out their company first. This isn’t to say that there aren’t legitimate contractors advertising their services on Kijiji, but make sure you choose to follow up on an ad that looks and sounds professional, and has a telephone contact number (and even better, a professional website or online reviews). Call the number and ask for more information. Be leery of people offering contracting services as side work with extremely low-cost pricing, and asking for payment upfront. Often, it’s not their only job, which means it’s not their main priority. You’ll want to ask them for proof of their training and past friends for a recommendation. Your network can give you the names of contractors who have done great work for them, and who better to trust than your closest friends and family? It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still do a little research, but you can almost be guaranteed you aren’t going to be taken for a ride by someone who can’t do the work, or can’t do it well.
If you don’t have a mutual contact to vouch for the contractor you’re looking at, ask the contractor for a reference. Every reputable contractor should have a large list of people who will sing their praises. When you call a contractor’s reference, it may be another contractor, a former employer of the contractor, or a client of the contractor. Make sure to ask the right questions, including their relationship to the contractor, and the skill, timeliness, and knowledge of the contractor during past projects. Verify how long they have been in their business and trade, and leave questions open-ended so you can gather as much information as possible.
No matter where you source a contractor, make sure to get an accurate estimate for the work before it begins, and never pre-pay a bill in full before work is completed.
Blue Collar Electric is happy to provide our potential clients with all the information they need to know, so they can relax knowing they’re being taken care of. Our first-time clients often become repeat clients, because they know that they can trust us to get the job done right the first time, on time and on budget.
By Danielle Mohr: Fine Point Writing & Editing (finepointwriting.ca)