(Family Features) One of the most frustrating challenges of keeping a home in top shape is finding reliable help when you need it. Whether your home projects are emergency repairs or planned upgrades, it’s critical to find the right home service providers.
There are likely plenty of plumbers, contractors, remodelers, carpenters, handymen and painters in your area, but it can be difficult to choose which ones can be counted on to do the job right.
Consider these simple, straightforward, free tips from the experts at Best Picks Reports to help guide you through the process of picking home service providers for any type of home project.
Begin by having a clear idea of the work that needs done to your home. The more specific your intended outcome, the better.
For example, it’s fine to know you would like to remodel your bathroom. However, it’s better to know you want to redo the countertop, sink and tile work, but you’re fine leaving the toilet and tub untouched.
Knowing the scope of work you want done can help you find the best home services professional for the job. It can also improve the likelihood the quotes you receive are as accurate as possible.
Ask your neighbors, friends, family members and co-workers to recommend home service providers they’ve hired.
Asking around is an easy and reliable way to get credible recommendations. It can be especially helpful if you’re new to the neighborhood. A word-of-mouth recommendation often speaks volumes about a service provider’s reputation because it comes from a customer with first-hand experience working with the provider.
Compare notes from different neighbors then narrow the list down to the most popular and highly recommended names to continue vetting.
Social media platforms can be excellent sources of information. Just search nearby home service providers by name and see what others are saying about them.
Some home service providers may even include testimonials and before-and-after pictures of recent projects on their social media feeds. These can give you an idea of the quality of their work.
Whether you get your recommendations from friends, family or social media, take each one with a grain of salt. Do some digging of your own, researching each option.
For each service provider you’re considering, look into any qualifications and certifications they may hold, including any areas of specialization that may be pertinent, and ensure they have the proper licenses and bonding to take on your project. Also check to see what kinds of assurances and guarantees they back their work with.
You can do your homework by visiting websites, making phone calls or both. If you’d like to make the process more efficient, start online. When you’ve narrowed your search to 2-3 options, make phone calls. Calling providers can also provide a first-hand example of their professionalism and customer service capabilities.
Look for unbiased customer reviews on independent business directories, forums and review websites. These printed directories and online sites often use a combination of third-party research and consumer reviews to rate contractors. Some even offer guarantees on the quality of work.
For example, a directory mailed to homeowners, like the Best Pick Reports, provides recommended pros that have been thoroughly, independently reviewed via an unparalleled certification process. Contractors are included in the report by invitation, which is extended only to companies that have met strict qualifying criteria. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with the Best Pick Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with a guaranteed service provider, you’ll be reimbursed.
Other sites, such as Five Star Rated, the Better Business Bureau and Google Business Reviews, can provide additional background information and reviews to help ensure you’re making the best choice possible.
With guides like these, you can expect candid information about who does the best work, along with certification of licensing, insurance and best business practices. Be sure to avoid sites where highly rated reviews can be purchased.
Most home service professionals have portfolios of their work. This is especially true for remodelers, renovators, painters, landscapers and other skilled craftsmen whose work is as much about style as it is quality.
As you look through samples of previous work, pay attention to details. Check if everything looks absolutely perfect or if you notice any flaws. Make sure their style is similar to what you’re seeking and look for samples that are similar to the kind of work you want done.
If you don’t see what you’re looking for – or if you notice discrepancies in the quality of their work – don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is your chance to find out all the information you can about the provider and its ability to complete your project.
Even if you have a good feeling about the first home service professional you talk to, don’t stop shopping around. Instead, make it a point to get a minimum of three bids before you enter a contract with anyone. This way you’ll have a better idea of whether you’re getting a good deal when you have other proposals to compare it to.
Not all home service professionals are created equal. It could easily be the second (or third) provider you talk to who ends up being the most impressive. However, you won’t know that if you end the process with the first bid within your budget.
You’re hiring someone who will work in your home. You owe it to yourself and your family to make sure you’re hiring a professional, trustworthy person (or team) for the job.
The best plan is often a combination of these steps and more. That doesn’t mean you have to work through every suggestion, but maybe you ask around, check online reviews and make a few calls. Do enough investigating to get a solid feel for any provider you plan to hire.
Find more information about service providers in your area at BestPickReports.com.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
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