What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a Home Improvement Contractor?

We have all heard it, “most new businesses fail” It is true, not just limited to new business. I have seen contractors come and go and I have cleaned up the mess they left in their wake.  Why is this? The why of it is exactly why you need to stay on guard.

I find it a good practice to deal with people that have the capacity to be honest. Early honesty detection has served me well when dealing with others. What is in a name? I have noticed many businesses using false claims in their name. For example “Always”, the only companies that should use a name like “Always” should be service providers like alarm companies; they normally always monitor your home. Or “Affordable”, maybe they are, but not to everyone. If you think someone has misrepresented their services it can be an indicator that something will go wrong with the company.

Mismanagement of funds or not quoting jobs correctly, two biggest killers of contractors. Contractors tend to use new deposits to complete previous jobs. Their work may be good and customers may be happy for a while. As long as they get new jobs they may finish the previous ones. This may go on for some time, but it will fail and costs consumers in the form of unfinished and or substandard work..

The state of Florida had previously used a part of contractors licensing fees to fund a “Homeowners Victim Fund”. As it was, if a homeowner was left on the short end of the stick, and the contractor had a valid license the state would pay for corrections.  The fund ran dry and the program was discontinued. That level of depletion coming from state licensed contractors was a shock to me. It goes to show just how bad it is out there.

I see Google guaranties consumer purchases from trusted sites. I am confident that Amazon will not be changing their name too soon. I also see online contractor services offering some sort of guarantee if the homeowner hires through their service. I might find some time to read the fine print on the deal, but I already know that several online services have changed their name. They are the same ones that have been around since the beginning. They get shut down or bad word of mouth causes homeowners to stop using them. Then the same people start a new service overnight with a new name. So what is stopping them from changing again? Also, to complicate matters further, offers of reimbursement for a project gone wrong are being made from companies not residing in Florida. This makes claiming reimbursement an interstate ordeal that will be difficult for the state of Florida to enforce.

Until the Fed’s set some regulation, you may be on your own.

I know this type of homeowner reimbursement guarantee failed for the state of Florida and Connecticut. I know that there are no insurance companies that will write such policies. If the state or the insurance industry won’t touch it, I cannot imagine who in their right mind would. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for such claims to be honored.

I have heard it said people should be sure to get the most recent customer reviews. The thinking behind this is that things should be good with the contractor right now. Recent reviews do not speak as loudly regarding financial stability.

Old reviews hold more value than current reviews, both work best.

If you sense something could go wrong with whoever you are thinking of hiring go with your feeling and continue searching. Find a company that makes you comfortable with your decision. By the way, same goes for marriage.

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