Never Trust a "Fart" !!!!
Did I just say that? Yes I did. We all know the guy , full of hot air and stinks! When looking for a contractor THIS guy is the one to avoid because after all the hot air is gone your left with a mess! So how can you tell a "fart" from a real contractor? It's not always easy. I mean there are some you can smell a mile away , but there are others that are really good at their deceptive craft. There are a few ways to help you avoid the "fart" and I will list them here. 1. Educate yourself You don't have to become an expert, but if you are having a repair done , or even building from bottom up, learn a little about what your having done. This is a good idea for a couple of reasons. First the contractor will use some lingo you may not understand. Most try to explain it as easy as possible but there will still be words and expressions used that may be helpful to you. Also if YOU personally use some of the words you learned while asking questions or explaining what you would like, your contractor knows you have done your homework and may be less likely to cheat you in some way. 2. Listen Listen to what your contractor says, closely. If you don't understand a certain aspect , have him repeat it for you. Maintain eye contact. Now that does not mean stare at him until he is uncomfortable, but be sure that you do have some eye contact. Finally ,watch his body language especially when asking him questions. 3. That brings us to; ask questions LOTS of questions. This is important. You need to know what the contractor is going to do and how he wants to achieve the end product. This is VERY important! You are going to get several bids and none of them will be the same. Each contractor has different suppliers, some add travel time etc. but they should all be pretty close to the same price. However most people grab the contractor with the lowest bid. Your job is to figure out what you are getting for that price. The only way to do that is to ask. For example, I give you a bid of $3,000 for a job and contractor #2 gives you a bid of $3200 its a safe bet that you are going to get close to the same quality for those prices. The difference may be in the quality of materials , or added expenses such as travel time. Say contractor #3 gives you the price of $1500. That should be a red flag. He is at half what the other two are. I’ve seen many a person get burned taking such a low bid. Ask, ask, ask! There is no dumb question. 4. Contract Ask for a contract. If the contractor says they don't use them, or a handshake is their word, RUN!!!!! I don't care if the contractor is your brother! The contract will be your protection as well as his. NEVER EVER hire a contractor without a contract! If he does not mention one then ask. If need be YOU write one up. A shady contractor does not like contracts. 5. Jack of all trades and Handymen No one person is good at every aspect of construction. There are many who can multitask, for example our company is a masonry company, we also pour concrete and lay tile and build with ICF ,but many of the handymen out there have a list a mile long of things they do, some requiring a licence they do not have!! If you hire a Jack of all trades , make sure he is skilled at what you need him for! Ok. so this is a short list of how to avoid getting burned by a contractor. Feel free to comment and add to the list or tell a story of the time you "trusted a fart".