How to Hire A Contractor or Master Craftsman

There are many ways to hire a contractor to perform a service on your home. However, the home owner should take time to learn and understand more about their house and how it functions. Here are some tips on hiring a contractor and educating yourself about your home.

The more you know and educate yourself about your house and how it works, the better you are at describing your needs to a contractor. Most contractors are skilled in many diverse areas of construction so the better you can articulate your need, the easier it is to spot a contractor who can do it right. A home owner should also take some time and go to a workshop and read house repair magazines. Many people agree that these types of informational events and literature are extremely educational and fun!

The more you know about your project brings you benefits all around. When you know about your project you can write out a scope of work on every aspect of the job that needs to be done and how you want to see it accomplished. This is very important. Contractors and craftsmen are amazing in what they do but if the work performed is not to the home owner’s liking, then this can lead to all sorts of problems. You can eliminate this by writing a detailed contract between yourself and the contractor that describes the nature of the work.

By understanding about the nature of the project, you will see estimates and proposals that come back to you all basically have the same look and wording. If a contractor says or asks something that you know a professional would not ask or say and you know the answer when he asks it, than he is most certainly not the contractor to hire.

Never be afraid to ask too many questions! Asking the right questions will eliminate the wrong contractors. Ask about the materials that will be used for the project. Ask about their preference for tools that they might use and see if they have pictures of past projects that they have worked on that are similar to yours.

Here are some addition example questions you could ask:

  1. Are you a lead certified contractor?
  2. Are you a firm?
  3. Do you belong to any trade organizations?
  4. How do you plan to implement set up and break down to keep my family and me safe during the project?
  5. What are the payment structures?
  6. Do you have any referrals?
  7. How long have you been in business?

We all know the rumors and fear associated with our line of work that we contractors and craftsmen undergo when meeting a prospective client. We can read the question on everyone’s mind; will you rip me off? Will you give me the best quality that you can for my hard earned money? Will you complete every detail on our contract agreement?

The answer to these types of questions is your knowledge about the project. There is a plethora of pictures and information on the internet that will help you with everything from the cost of the materials to videos on how to do your specific project. Make sure to research the contractor as well. They all should have a license and they can be found in a database for that state. The Department of State has a license verification service that allows you to look up occupational licenses so make sure to get the craftsmen’s information when hiring them.

If you are educated about how your project should be executed, then you are already in the know when a contractor comes to tell you about what needs to be done. This way you get a professional that excels in the area of your endeavor.

I always say; “if you go to a surgeon to work on your heart, wouldn’t you want to go to a cardiologist?”

Your home is your heart and we all know the saying; Home is where the heart is. So if not repaired and maintained properly…well, you can guess the rest.

Duffy Hoffman
Preservation Specialist

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