You need a professional to help you with home repairs or renovation, but in most cases, hiring a professional means hiring a stranger. If the prospect frightens you, don’t worry—you can take steps to ensure the professional you invite inside is trustworthy. Follow these tips to keep your home and family safe.
Hire Honest Professionals
In general, most contractors are honest and trustworthy. You just have to do whatever you can ensure you’ve found the right person for the job. Take these steps:
- Check that your contractor has insurance. Insurance protects both you and your tradesperson if property damage occurs.
- Ask for references. Get in touch with recent customers and ask questions. How did their project turn out? Were they happy with the finished result? Did the contractor arrive on time and charge a reasonable price?
- Ensure the contractor has a local business address and landline. If the contractor only gives you a mobile telephone number, double check that it’s local, not long distance.
- Ask whether they belong to a trade association. While you can certainly find good tradespeople who don’tbelong to an association, those who do have verifiable credentials.
- Ask about guarantees and warranties. Most quality tradesmen offer warranties because they’re confident in their abilities and products. Plus, warranties can help you if you discover the contractor has made a mistake.
- Don’t pay the entire cost up front. A contractor might ask you to pay a deposit, but most reputable ones won’t ask for a huge chunk of the money in advance.
- Only agree to written contracts. Your contract should cover the project’s details, costs, and timeline. Go by the contract line by line before you sign.
Take Extra Precautions
Again, most contractors are honest, trustworthy workers. However, if you’re still anxious at the thought of someone else entering your home, you can take a few extra steps to feel safe:
- Don’t leave keys lying around. Be particularly careful with window and back door keys.
- Lock doors to private rooms. Unless your contractor needs access to them, lock your bedrooms and home offices.
- Tell your home insurance provider about your contractor work. If you don’t alert your insurance provider to the fact that you’re getting work done, they may not cover any losses or damage that occurs.
- Put away bank statements and bills. These documents make it easy for someone to steal your identity.
- Stay around the house while the contractor works. If at all possible, arrange for him or her to come over only when you’re home. If you can’t be at home during the contractor’s scheduled hours, ask a neighbor to periodically swing by and verify that everything is going well.
Once you’ve chosen a reliable tradesperson, follow these tips to ensure the project goes smoothly and safely from start to finish:
- Set a schedule. Make sure you always know when contractors will start and finish their work each day.
- Talk about bathroom usage. If you’re not comfortable with a contractor using your bathroom, let them know upfront so they can make other arrangements.
- Set clear expectations. Talk about key issues before the project starts so that a problem doesn’t come up halfway through.
Do you have other security tips for hiring a contractor to work on your home? Share in the comments section below!