Why does it always seem so hard to find good, honest handypersons and contractors of integrity? Sadly, like many service-based industries, not all professionals are made the same or believe the same. We believe that people tell you who they are upfront, so you should listen.
So what do you do when you have a project, or projects, and want to ensure that you hire the right person the first time? Don't worry, I've got your back. Here are some questions to ask - and a few things to pay attention to - any professional before hiring them. How they answer, and even how they interact with you beforehand, can say a lot.
1. Are they licensed and insured?
Believe it or not, but there are handymen out there who are neither licensed to do business, in the city, county or state, or have adequate insurance to cover you and their team should something happen. It's rare, but better safe than sorry. Both are not completely unreasonable business expenses however they can tell you if the person is credible, reliable and a person of integrity.
2. Do they have references or testimonials available on their website? When you ask for references are they happy to oblige, and actually send them to you?
Talking to past customers is a great way to get to know a professional. What they say is everything. And, if you think they are stacking the references, ask for more. Any handyman or contractor, with nothing to hide, will be more than happy to meet your request.
3. Do they have photos of their work available to view?
And, they look legit...Photos can tell you a lot about how much care someone puts into their work. Ask about the more intricate projects and get them to tell you how that project went, even some of the challenges they encountered and how they overcame it.
4. What background do they have that lends to the work you need done?
In this business, people often are lifers or come to it later in life, however, they do it because they have done it, in some shape or form. Maybe they've always been building and fixing things, they just didn't think of making a career of it at the time. They could be an engineer turned handyman, or like our founder Eric Marie, who was a pastry chef for 30 years and ran his own kitchens, with their own unique set of fix-it jobs he mastered. Being able to engineer a 3-D Mickey Mouse cake in a custom design from scratch is no easy task and good training. Now, he has a successful company of hand-picked, trusted handymen in Chicago and Miami with very happy customers.
5. Are they open and straight forward about what they can and cannot do?
This kind of honesty shows integrity and care for the work, and your satisfaction, over the money in their pockets. For instance, we don't do in wall plumbing, but we know someone who is really awesome that we're happy to bring in. We also do not do in wall electricity, but we also know someone we like and trust that you will like as well. Essentially, a good handyman/contractor will always be a good project manager understanding their strengths and bringing in the right experts to play to theirs. If the individual acts as if they can do it all, be sure to ask for their plumbing and electricians certificates or cards.
6. Do they have reliable transportation?
I mean, if they can't get to work on time they will not get the project done on time and on budget. One way to tell is their ability to show up on time for appointments. If the person was mostly on time, but got the job done well, okay, but you should really strive for the person who shows respect to arrive early, even if they have to wait in their car.
7. Are they reliable?
Playing off #6, whether someone does what they say they will when they say they will can tell you everything about how the job will get done. This is a great question to ask those people provided as references. If someone doesn't return your phone calls within 24 hours that could be a sign that they will also be unreliable on the job.
8. Are they honest?
You might think that all of the above will give you insight into their honesty, and it will, but the real test is if they talk to you honestly. If you have an idea that you want executed and the handyman or contractor is nodding his head instead of working out, and talking out loud, about the logistics then they might not be honest. Everyone has a different style, but by thinking out loud and sharing the process, you can understand exactly what they are going to do and how. It also means that they will not hesitate to let you know if something isn't working out as planned. The difference is that they will also come to you with an idea of how to make it work.
9. Do they have a lot of excuses?
Maybe a project didn't go well or they are jumping around the fact that they don't have any references. If this shows up in early interaction, you can guarantee that there will be excuses for being late or not showing up at all in the future.
10. Do you trust them?
At the end, it is all in your gut. After all, you are entrusting this individual with your home and personal property, let alone your money. If something doesn't feel right then find someone else. Don't let them talk you into giving them the job. You deserve to find someone who is a good fit, feels right and that you want to hire again in the future. If you don't think you would refer the individual to your grandmother, then why would you hire them?