After purchasing a home, many buyers find that they want to personalize it, change the environment to suit specific tastes, and that means hiring a handyman, technician, or contractor. When I think of the best ways to find an operator or contractor, this old joke pops into my head.
It goes like this. People want three things in a Handyman or Contractor. They want a contractor that is: 1. Affordable 2. Highly trained, and 3. Punctual, so pick two. It means that it is impossible to obtain all three characteristics in one contractor.
But it is not totally impossible, of course.
You can find a great Handyman or Contractor and be the envy of all your friends. Everyone has a tacky story to share about contractors. Ask among your friends and you will hear about guys who didn’t finish their job, stole money, or left the homeowner stuck after doing a lousy job and disappearing. Naturally, you don’t want any of this to happen to you, and you are probably very cautious when choosing a contractor; I do not blame him. It all depends on who you choose.
Determine the type of handyman or contractor you need to find
The first step is choosing the right Handyman or technician for the job. If it is a simple job, where something can go wrong, you can hire an operator, but for jobs that involve a more delicate situation, it would be better to hire a professional who specializes in a specific field.
If it is your heating or air conditioning that needs repair, you will need an HVAC specialist. If you are installing light fixtures, you will need an electrician. Replace a faucet or toilet, call a plumber. Finishing hardwood floors or installing new wood, get a flooring installer.
You will find specialists who work entirely on ceramics and various types of tiles such as travertine or marble. The benefit of hiring a professional is that they do this type of work over and over again and the process is something they are experienced in.
The other obvious benefit of hiring a specialist is that they know what to do if the job turns out to be more complicated than it sounds. Sometimes you don’t know what can go wrong until you’re in the middle of the project, and if you haven’t hired the right person, it may be too late.
How to Hire a Responsible Handyman or Contractor
The problem with getting a stranger out of the Yellow Pages or a single website is that the individual may be responsible for nothing. In our modern world, service industries live and die for revisions.
It is human nature to do a good job when you know your reputation is at stake.
1. Find a Handyman, Technician or Contractor on Google
Google searches are all local. If you already have a Gmail account, you are already signed in to Google and it knows where you are. If you are connected by mobile phone, activate location services. Search by the type of contractor and your city. In the “local” box you will see the providers with websites and indicate the number of comments, especially if the company or person has a Google Business Page.
Be careful when reading the reviews and ask yourself if you sound like a friend who has posted the reviews or if you are a real customer. Anyone with a Gmail account can post a review on the Google Business Page, even a non-customer, for example a family member. Click the link for the person who posted the review to see if that person has reviewed other businesses. If this is the only review, you might be suspicious.
2. Find a technician or contractor on Angie’s list
On Angie’s ListYou can search for contractors in a number of ways. I do not suggest looking for promotions and coupons because they are companies that pay to be promoted. Instead, search by the number of miles from your location. Keep expanding the miles until you find at least 3 contractors with a good number of reviews.
Since you have a choice in Angie’s ListWhy not start with the A-rated reviews? Read the full review. Angie’s List also offers a Blue Book on pricing, so you can find out the low and high costs of your proposed work. Some Angie’s List sellers will give you a discount if you mention that you found the company on Angie’s List.
3. Find a technician or contractor on Yelp
Yelp offers reviews for a wide variety of products and services, so you can also find a craftsman or contractor at Yelp. Sometimes you’ll find more reviews on Yelp from unhappy customers than from satisfied customers. This is because people tend to feel more urgency to post a bad review when they feel like they haven’t gotten what they paid for.
Also consider the type of person who did the review. Anyone can post a review on Yelp. Is it the bad review posted by a disgruntled co-worker or maybe an old romantic affair. It helps to read between the lines and hear the tone of the reviewer’s review. Also, click on the link to read other reviews by that person to determine if they are a person who likes to complain. From Yelp, you can also visit the operator or contractor website for more information.
4. Find a technician or contractor for your real estate agent
Your real estate agent works with dozens of contractors and operators. She can give you all kinds of references if you ask. Your real estate agent wants to be your permanent agent, check your references very closely. If a customer has ever filed a valid complaint against a contractor, you can bet that the Administrator will remove that individual or company from their referral list.
5. Find a technician or contractor in your store
With the exception of places like Home Depot or other large home improvement stores, you can rely on references from the product vendor’s contractors.
Smaller companies tend to work with the best contractors and typically have business cards on hand to give you. They want a happy customer and they are not too big to be ambivalent. Some of the relationships between the store and the contractors are long-term, even years.
Tips Before Hiring a Handyman, Contractor, or Technician
- Make sure to reveal where you found the person or company and also make it very clear that you intend to post a review after the job is completed. While this does not guarantee superior service, it is definitely motivating.
- Don’t pay a contractor upfront and beware of those who demand high upfront fees. Typically, you would pay a small deposit, enough to cover the materials if you don’t have the product on hand, and the rest when the job is done.
- Ask to see license and insurance verification.
- Find out if you need a building permit.