Avoid Contractor Nightmare on “Your” Street

Have you ever tried to save money by hiring your friend’s handyman brother to remodel your kitchen? Or your father-in-law’s retired “HVAC technician” cousin to repair your air conditioner? Or the Groupon contractor du jour?

If you have, chances are they were unlicensed, charged you more than you were quoted and/or cost you dearly over the long haul because of incomplete or shoddy work. So here are some guidelines to help you make smart decisions about hiring a contractor.

1) Make sure they are licensed and insured.

Licensed contractors are required to have liability and workers comp insurance. You could be liable for medical bills or even be sued if an unlicensed contractor is injured on your job. In addition, it takes a license to pull permits. If your contractor doesn’t pull the proper permit, you may have trouble when it comes to selling your house. You can verify licenses at myfloridalicense.com.

2) Choose those who come highly referred by reliable, trusted sources.

Don’t get sold by a total stranger. Make sure your friends and neighbors can vouch for “excellent” quality. And there are a lot of scammers out there… people who will take your money and not show up or finish the job.

3) Ask for references… and contact them.

A referral from someone you know and trust doesn’t guarantee that the contractor’s work is consistent with all customers. Contact other references and ask qualitative questions such as how pleased were you with the work and would you hire them again. Get as many details as you can to make an informed decision.

4) Meet them and ensure you have a strong sense of professionalism, knowledge and trustworthiness.

If you have steps 1, 2 and 3 in place, then this one should be a no-brainer. But not always. Have them walk you through the process and make sure you have a secure feeling of trust.

When you have peace of mind about whom you hire, you’ll end up with a quality result at a price you think is fair. Because it’s about value, not cutting corners.

To schedule an air conditioning service or preventive maintenance appointment, call 561-746-7211.