Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hiring a Contractor

Some projects can be done yourself. But for those that can't, or that you'd rather not, you need to hire a contractor. But how? What's the process? What do you need to know or consider?

LifeHacker put it well when they said:
Everything fails. From your air conditioner to refrigerator to the mortar holding the bricks of your front walk together, everything has a failure point—Great Pyramids of Giza? Not looking so new anymore, are they?—and the more aware of this you are the less likely you are to be caught off guard with a huge repair. 
You don't want to be forced to pick a contractor or repair man hastily just because an emergency repair is breathing down your neck, so your best defense is to check for problems before they crop up. You'll have time to carefully pick someone to do the work instead of saying "You can repair the septic tank tomorrow? Oh thank God!" and hoping for the best.
They recommend making a list of all the systems in your home, and their respective ages:
  • When was your roof installed? 
  • How old is your furnace? 
  • When was the AC unit last serviced? 
  • That 25 year old furnace might still be going strong today but it's well into its end of life. 
  • How old is your home? Is all the electrical original or have you upgraded it the technology you use?
  • Is your breaker box up to date or does it still use fuses that have to be replaced?
  • Is the seer on your AC appropriate for the size of your home after remodeling?
A checkup from a qualified professional on the major parts of your home like the roof and the heating/cooling system is radically cheaper than an emergency visit when they fail.

Here are some suggestions before hiring a contractor:
  • Get recommendations from friends and neighbors. We want you to start every story with "Look at the work I had done by Benchmark, it's perfect!"
  • Check for complaints against the contractor. You can see that our license is up-to-date with no complaints against us at the Board's Site.
  • Find out what licenses and permits they need. Generally, each city requires permits. Also ask for a rough estimate on the cost of those permits.
  • Check out the contractor's insurance. 
  • Meet with the contractor. We want to be a good fit for you - friendly, reliable, personable.
  • Get quotes. Track the quote variables with a spreadsheet or other list. Make sure you compare apples-to-apples, and understand the work that will be done.
  • Ask for references and check them out. 
Now that you're an informed consumer, we know you'll choose Benchmark Contracting because of our stellar reputation and excellent references!

1 comment:

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