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In this post: When DIY projects don’t go as planned, you may need to call in the pros. Follow this guide to learn how to hire home project professionals you can trust.
The original title for this article was going to be, “How to Replace Your Kitchen Faucet.”
The before pictures were taken. We had all the tools and new parts lined up and ready to go. And then…
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the old faucet out. I was worried we were going to break something from tweaking it.
And so, we put all the old pieces back in place and closed up the cabinet again. The only thing accomplished was discovering that we’d need to get a plumber to fix it.
Oh, it made me sad. I hated having to walk away defeated. But sometimes, you have to call in the professionals.
Here are some tips for hiring service professionals.
HOW TO HIRE HOME PROJECT PROFESSIONALS
1. Ask your real estate agent for a referral
Any real estate agent who has been in the business for a while will have connections to a professional for just about any job. They will most likely only recommend pros whom they can trust to do a good job, at a fair price.
You know why?
Real estate agents really, really care about the satisfaction of their clients. Any home project pro they recommend reflects back on the agent. They want happy customers.
That means most will make good referrals for local home pros they know and trust.
Haven’t been in touch with your agent since your house deal closed? They’d love to hear from you!
Don’t feel awkward about asking for a favor. As a former real estate agent, I can assure you that agents love keeping in touch with past clients. Go ahead and ask.
When you call the pro, be sure to mention you were referred by your real estate agent. They may work extra hard to make sure you’re happy, because they want to stay on that agent’s list for future referral opportunities.
2. Use a referral service
Many home service professionals pay to be a part of contractor referral programs. These pre-screened networks are free for you to use. The pros have to go through an application and approval process to be included.
When you submit your request, you may get several bids from competing pros. This is an easy way to get multiple quotes with very little effort. Depending on the network, you may also be able to see reviews, and examples of previous work.
I’ve had good experience using Home Advisor. You submit some information about your product, and they send it out to pre-screened pros to get in touch with you. You also get a list of local pros who have gone through their screening process. This is how I found a pro when my hot water heater failed.
Another national network in the U.S. is Porch.com. Get bids or book pros right through their site. They also have an app.
3. Know what you should know
Depending on the size of your job, you may want to request more information from the person you are considering hiring.
For a smaller job, like a faucet replacement, you may be happy with a good referral, and knowing the pro is licensed, bonded, and insured. You could also do a quick internet search on the company, and the name of the person doing the work, to look for general comments that might be posted.
For bigger jobs, you should keep these additional things in mind:
- Interview several qualified pros and get written bids
- Compare all aspects of the bids, including scope of work, warranties, references, time frames, and price
- Request a copy of their insurance policy to verify what’s covered
- Ask for references for previous work and then check them out
- Make sure they are registered through the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) office (In Washington, I can go to http://www.lni.wa.gov to search for contractors. Do a search for your local office.)
- Check them out on the Better Business Bureau website http://www.bbb.org
4. Make smart decisions
We all want to get a bargain, and to get the job done as soon as possible. But don’t let your eagerness impair your decision making.
Listen to your gut.
Be wary of pros who:
- Don’t provide a written contract or complete bid
- Provide references or credentials that can’t be verified
- Offer a special price only if you sign the contract today (or other high pressure sales tricks)
- Accept only cash, or require large deposits (And never pay in full up front!)
Listen to your gut. If something makes you uncomfortable, or sounds too good to be true, look for another option.
Getting the job done
When you know how to hire home project professionals the smart way, you can get your projects done right, with peace of mind. I don’t hesitate to hire someone when I feel like a project is just too big for me, or if I just need it finished.
So, the plumber came to finish the faucet project. Guess what he did? He had to break it to get it out. I learned something for next time, and got a working faucet.
What has your experience been with hiring professionals for work around your house?