When a family hires a contractor to do work on their home, they are placing a lot of trust in that company or person. Our home is a personal living area. Home is the place we go after the work day is done. We can relax or get back to our favorite hobbies. Our family is at home; our kids, our grandparents or relatives. People that come to our home see the house, yard and home interior as a reflection of who we are. When doing home renovations sometimes I’ll get a key so I can enter the house, do a days work and leave without ever seeing the homeowners. This is a huge amount of trust to give a person you’ve only met a week ago.
How do you decide if a contractor can be trusted? I’d answer that the same way I decide if I can trust a homeowner. There is a risk for me as a contractor: not getting paid. I have turned down work simply because I didn’t feel I could trust the homeowner. Peers tell me “Trust your gut”. This is the number one way I decide if I can trust a contractor or homeowner. Does the tradesman seem confident? Have they been honest in the conversation? Are they afraid of competitive estimates?
When I have hired a tradesman for my own home construction, I’ve used one guide as an “elimination tool” to weed out the people I would not hire. I’ll use an analog situation. The tradesman shows up and we do the small talk, bla, bla, ha ha. I show them a jigsaw puzzle in a box from http://www.jigsawjungle.com/. I tell them the dimensions but not how many pieces there are exactly. “A few hundred pieces.” I say. The next thing I say is “Well, how long will it take you to finish it and how much money?” If they can give me an answer right off the top of their head, I become VERY skeptical that they know what they’re doing. Firstly, I didn’t give all the information to answer the question, and secondly most people can’t answer the question without considering the problem at hand for at least a few minutes. The right person for the job is one that would answer something like “It’s $1.50 per puzzle piece and based on the picture it’ll be between 5 and 10 days, but I’ll write something up for you if you want”
There are lots of other ways to ‘check out’ a contractor, but I’ve never used them. Lots of companies state that they are listed with the Better Business Bureau. or the Red Deer Builder’s Association. or some other Organization in their business arena. They do help but it’s not the main decision making tool I would recommend.
The bottom line is this: If you didn’t trust me to do a good job, it doesn’t matter how well I finish anything! you still won’t trust the workmanship.