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Hiring Contractors: Preparing for Emergencies

While you can never predict when an emergency will arise in your home, you can prepare for it. Here are some things you can do to start building a list of trusted contractors.

If you could predict the unforeseen, it would be called something else. But while you can never predict when an emergency will arise in your home, you can prepare for it. While you may not know that a major plumbing emergency will strike your home next summer, you can always make sure you have a list of good plumbing contractors on hand to call when it does. There is a practical reason to do this, anyway. Most people in the construction and skill field will be able to perform needed maintenance anyway, meaning you have reason enough to start forming a working relationship with them even if you have little reason to fear an emergency problem. Here are some things you can do to start building your list of trusted companies.

Research Local Businesses

Your first step is to find out what contractors are out there and what kind of reputation they have in your community. Do this one at a time (plumbers, construction companies, remodelers, etc.) at your convenience. There’s certainly no rush to find good companies in every possible field all at once. You can start compiling a list through several methods. Using the phone book is one way, but not necessarily the best place to start. There are several websites devoted to compiling customer reviews. They work as directories, as well, and so might serve your purposes better. You can also talk to the people you know and see if they have any recommendations.

Better Business Bureau

Don’t overlook one of the best resources out there for consumers who don’t want to be scammed or taken advantage of. While it’s debatable whether or not actually belonging to the BBB is anything to brag about (though companies certainly will), it is still one of the first stops for customers who are unhappy about the service they received from contractors. Peruse the listings and see if any companies you’ve thought of hiring have received complaints. Getting a complaint isn’t necessarily a red flag, of course. See what the company’s response was and how many complaints they’ve received.

Read Your Contracts

It’s not unusual for a homeowner to find themselves puzzled by a final bill, especially when it is far higher than the estimate they had beforehand. This is not always a fault on the part of the contractors (though it certainly sometimes is). Often, it is the fault of the homeowner

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, who failed to carefully read the contract they were signing at the outset. Look at all the fine print and make sure you aren’t signing up for anything unexpected.