Making repairs comes with owning a home. Whether you are a homeowner living blissfully in your dream neighborhood or you are a landlord that owns a property and rents it out….repairs will be part of your home-ownership journey. Some repairs are easy to tackle yourself (thank you, YouTube!), however, whether it is due to time, ability or proximity to the property, there will likely be times that you are unable to make the repairs to your property. This is where your search for a good contractor or repair person begins.
Picking a good repair service can be tricky. We’ve all heard the horror stories of contractors hired to do a service that take the down payment and never finish a job or handy services that leave caulk dripping from repairs and mismatched paint splotches throughout your home. Picking a quality, reliable contractor or repair provider is a vital part of home ownership and property management. Check out these top tips for picking a repair service that will save you stress and money.
1-) Interview first. Before you agree to allow a contractor or repair service to take on a job in your home or rental property…interview them first. Ask them to come out to the property and see the repairs that need to be done. Notice their demeanor (Are they polite? Do they arrive to the job on time? Did they call, text, or email to confirm your meeting?) and ask for references (and call them!). If the service person doesn’t show up on time or is unprofessional or rude when they arrive, that’s often a good indicator of how the rest of your transaction will go.
2-) Ask for a proposal in writing. When the contractor or repair service comes to the property to view the repairs, ask for a written, itemized proposal. Ask them how much money they will need up front and be sure to clarify the full repairs or work to be done. Get pictures of the damage before or, if the damage is partially hidden due to siding or shingles, ask the contractor to provide pictures of additional damage as they uncover issues. When dealing with a new repair service company, do not take their word for additional damages that they find as they go. Request a picture of the damage and get an updated cost assessment in writing if further damages come up as they progress through the job.
3-) Shop around. Once you’ve got a written proposal that breaks down the details of the work to be done, shop the repair rates. Typically getting three bids will help give you an idea of the market average for the service that you are requesting to have done. Also, it is a good idea to ask the contractor how long it would be before they would be able to start the project and how long they estimate it will take to complete the project. Keep this in mind if your home needs an immediate repair or if your rental property is going to be vacant while repairs are done.
4-) Don’t pay in full up front. It is pretty standard for many repair companies or contractors to charge a percentage of the cost of the job up front to cover the cost of supplies. Once you have paid this amount, always ask for a written receipt. It is never a good idea, especially with a new contractor, to pay the full amount up front for a job.
5-) Request to see their insurance. Ask the contractor or service company if they are licensed and insured before they are allowed to begin a project. It is advisable to always choose a “Class A” contractor. Having a licensed, “Class A” contractor means that they have met additional training and requirements and (should) have a better quality of work. Having business insurance not only shows that they are doing due diligence in their business, it also can help serve as a liability protection stop for you.
6-) Check the attitude. You may have gotten awesome references, a great price and quick service….but if they have a bad attitude or are rude to your family in your home or your tenants in your rental property….it’s just not worth it. Does the repair service or contractor take their shoes off when they come inside? Do they knock? Do they come wearing their company’s logo and provide a business card?
7-) Responsiveness counts. When you need a service provided, is your contractor able to accommodate? Waiting a week while you have a leaking pipe in your attic or your tenant’s toilet won’t flush can become a problem. When you call for a service, always be sure to ask about an estimated time for them to start the job.
Following these simple tips can help you pick a great contractor or service repair company! Once you’ve picked a company that works well for you, be sure to ask them about referral discounts and send your friends their way. Many contractors will provide discounted work for clients who refer them business.
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All The Best,
Kelley Carter, CPIA
The Choice Insurance Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events. In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations. See what The Choice Insurance Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-416-5100 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Choice Insurance Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-416-5100.