Top ten questions to ask before hiring a handyman
You are ready to get started with your home renovation project and want to hire a contractor. But wait, have you asked all the right questions? Planet Handyman has compiled a list of questions that will help you avoid any potential disputes.
- Are contractor's licenses and registrations in order? Most contractor professions are licensed at the state level and these licenses must be renewed every few years. Ask for the license numbers from every contractor that you are considering to hire; you can also call state licensing agencies to verify if those licenses are current.
- Insist on written estimates on company letterheads. It's much easier to prove your claim if you can produce documentation in black and white. Also, people can easily forget what was discussed and agreed upon.
- All guarantees must be in writing. If your handyman guarantees his work, that's great. Just make sure that those guarantees are in writing.
- How long the contracting company has been in business and can they provide references from previous customers? A family business that has been in existence for 3 generations has built a reputation in the community; by calling the provided references, you can get a good idea about what that reputation is.
- Look elsewhere if the contractor asks for cash payment upfront.
- Is the contractor insured and bonded? A contractor should carry third-party property and injury insurance. Depending on the state and the trade, a contractor may need to be bonded also.
- Find out if the contractor is registered with Better Business Bureau. What is the nature and extent of complaints lodged against a contractor?
- Find out if the contractor is going to do the work himself or farm it out to sub-contractors. The quality of sub-contractors can vary widely and you want to know what exactly you will be getting.
- Is the contractor neat and well organized? When the contractor visited your home before giving you a written quote, did he show up on time? Was he well-organized and took good notes? A contractor who shows up an hour late will probably create problems for you in the future too.
- Research online. As more and more customers take to online sites to find contractors and share their customer experience with a particular contractor, there is plethora of information online. Planet Handyman is one such site, but there are others. Try to google the contracting company's name and see what you find.