If you hate contractors, you’re not alone. Most people don’t trust any kind of contractor, whether they’re general contractors, plumbers, electricians or even heating and cooling contractors. They’ve almost become number one on the list of people everyone loves to hate. In fact, the only people who beat out contractors for consumer complaints are auto dealers; you know, “Honest Al’s Used Cars.” I’m not sure where mechanics and dentists fall in this list, but they’ve got to be pretty high up there as well.
So, what is it about contractors that makes everyone hate them? Basically there are two major reasons. The first one is that projects always seem to cost more than we think they will. The second problem is that many times, the work isn’t done to the customer’s satisfaction. Between these two things, it seems that everyone has been burned by a contractor sometime or other.
Okay, so how do you keep from getting burned in the future? Good question. Let me give you a few pointers:
- Research the work that you want done, before talking to the contractor. With the Internet, you can find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the project, and more. That way, you’ll know what the contractor is talking about. Not only will that keep him from pulling the wool over your eyes, but it will help you make sure that you’re communicating with each other.
- Check your potential contractor out. Call the Better Business Bureau; check with materials supply houses; talk to neighbors; ask for references and call them. You have a vested interest in making sure you know who that guy is and what he can do. Don’t trust what he tells you, trust what others tell you.
- Make sure your contract is extremely clear about the work to be done, who’s paying for what materials, your payment schedule, and under what conditions you will accept the job as done. If you need to, attach photographs, drawings and notes; but make sure they are listed as annexes on the contract. You can even get pictures of what you want off the Internet, making notes on them, and providing them to the contractor as part of your “specifications.”
- If you’re not sure about the price listed on the contract, ask the contractor to tell you how he came up with that number. While many will be uncomfortable doing this, if they want the job, they’ll let you know. Realize that part of that cost has to be profit for them as well. Otherwise, they have no reason to do the job for you.
- Insure clear communication between yourself and the contractor. Many problems crop up, just because of lack of good, clear communication. You’ve got to realize that they speak a different language; if you don’t know the language, you may not understand what he’s saying. Ask him to spell it out, or get on the Internet and look up all those strange terms.
Your experience with your contractor should be a positive one. I’m sure that if you follow these guidelines, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches, and maybe even a few for the contractor.
The Window & Door Store is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.