Find a qualified home repairman is never easy. Consumers are often forced to rely on unreliable online ratings like Yelp, sketchy Craigslist ads, or questionable services like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. However, not all hope is lost. Before hiring a handyman, follow the following 7 rules to make sure you are getting a good value from a qualified professional.
1. Request a breakdown of costs for materials and labor
In many cases, professional home service providers simply present consumers with one price for both the product and the labor. For example, if a homeowner wishes to install a new hot water heater, an installer may simply quote him or her an “out the door” price, making it difficult to price compare and known exactly what is being purchased. Be sure to request the professional for a complete breakdown. This will reduce the possibility of being ripped off, while enabling effective price shopping.
2. Make sure that the professional is licensed, bonded, and insured.
In the event of an onsite injury, the handyman’s own insurance policy should cover any related health care bills, along with lost wages. Otherwise, the homeowner is potentially on the hook. In addition, unlicensed and unbonded professionals are typically not doing the trade full time, increasing potential risk for the consumer.
3. Rely on word of mouth
Though online ads offer advantages, nothing beats word of mouth referrals. Professionals depend on these for business and you will reduce the risk of being ripped off if your home repairman knows that you will price compare with the person that gave you the referral.
4. Make sure there is a schedule
Repairmen have a reputation for missing deadlines and leaving job sites unfinished. Establish a schedule and make it known to your professional that “time is of the essence” with regard to the work. Otherwise, he or she may prioritize other jobs over yours.
5. Get a contract
Always make sure that you ask the professional for a copy of the work agreement. This will establish the terms of the work engagement and will give you a potential remedy in the event of a mishap.
6. Ask about the warranty
Consumers demand and rely on warranty protection for most products and they should do so for service projects as well. Guarantees of workmanship vary depending on the nature of the engagement, for example, for an HVAC service, but they should be reasonable in nature and depend in length and scope on the type of project and the amount of money spent on the service. For example, a consumer should expect a furnace replacement to come with a minimum 30 day guarantee that the installation was done in a good and workmanlike manner.
7. Verify word of mouth referral online
Though word of mouth referral are helpful, they are anecdotal in nature and may not represent the true nature and ability (or lack thereof) of the professional. Online reviews are great in this regard. Though they should be avoided initially, use them to verify that your handyman has a good reputation with other similarly situation consumers.
By following these 7 steps, you will increase the odds of getting a good deal on your home project from a qualified professional.