6 Things You Need to Do When Hiring a Contractor
By Krista York
Hiring a contractor to paint your house can be a daunting process. There are so many questions that need to be answered and things that need to be verified. Plus, you have more choices than you know what to do with.
If you’re currently in the process of hiring a painter (or any other contractor), here are six things you need to do to narrow your search. These don’t just apply to painters, either. You should follow these steps whenever you hire someone to do any work on your home.
Get Recommendations From Friends, Family, or Social Networking
This is the first step, and an essential one if you are early in the process. The best way to hire a contractor worth your time is to ask your friends and family. Did your neighbor just get their house painted? How did they feel about it?
If you don’t have someone you immediately know, you can always check social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. There are also apps like Nextdoor that let you get in touch with your community for tips and advice.
Once you have some recommendations, it’s time to dig a little deeper and find some high-quality reviews.
Find Positive Reviews
After you get a list of potential contractors, it’s time to see which ones are truly worth your time. First, you will want to see if the contractor has an online presence. A nice website is a crucial tool for them, and having a high-quality site shows that they take their business seriously. You will also want to find a company that clearly displays its values on the site.
Next, it’s time to look at reviews. A quick Google search will pull up any reviews that the company has. Finding one with five-stars is a no-brainer, but also make sure to thoroughly read the reviews to find the nuances of the service. Look for comments about how their workers conduct themselves as well as the overall quality of the job.
You can also find user feedback on Facebook and Instagram. It’s important that contractors have social media in this day and age because it lets you interact directly with the company and see what others have to say about them in a neutral space.
You will also want to see how active the contractors are on these sites. Do they have a lot of posts? Are those posts recent and highlight their latest jobs? If they’re proud of their work they will be sure to show it.
Ask Questions and Get Answers
When you finally contact a contractor, you’re going to have a lot of questions. That’s perfectly fine, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask them. A good painter is always going to answer your questions as clearly and concisely as possible.
If a contractor isn’t being clear or is purposefully dodging your questions, then you should be wary of doing business with them. You should be able to speak to your painting contractor on the phone, and you should feel heard, valued, and important. Here’s a list of several questions you should be asking.
- Are you insured?
- How long have you been in business?
- What kind of prep work do you do?
- Are you a member of any professional organizations?
- Do you offer warranties with your work?
- What products do you use?
- Do you have references?
- About how long will the job take?
- Do you provide help with colors if needed?
- How do I prepare for my project?
- Do I supply the materials?
Get answers to all of these questions and more. Bonus points if the contractor goes out of their way to answer these questions before you even ask them.
Find Strong References
A reference is a lot like a recommendation. However, a professional reference is a bit stronger than a recommendation from a friend. References should be people the contractor works with regularly.
Examples include clients that frequently hire them or other contractors who have worked with them in the past. It’s important to find and talk to strong references so you get insight into the contractor’s integrity and how they treat their other clients and partners. You don’t want to be stuck working with someone that no one else will.
Get Detailed Estimates
Once you have a few contractors settled on, it is time to get an estimate. At this point, a project manager will come to your home to evaluate the job and give you an estimate of the total cost. It’s important to talk with the project manager the whole time and, again, ask lots of questions.
The project manager should have no problem going over exactly what the costs are going to be and explaining any difficulties the job may entail. If a contractor does not want to be clear about how much they are charging you, you will likely end up paying a lot more than you anticipated.
Do Your Homework
Take all the information the painting contractor has given you and do your homework. Unfortunately, you can’t trust what everyone says. Doing your homework will help build a trusting work relationship with your contractor, and they are more likely to be completely transparent if they know you are looking into it anyway.
Now is the time to finalize any last questions you might have. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away. There are plenty of contractors out there ready to do honest work, so there’s no reason to be stuck with one that isn’t.
You should feel like your contract is the most important one, and having clear communication with your contractor is the best way to make that happen.