At first glance, it may seem like you should be able to expect the same overall service and experience from any licensed and insured contractor that you reach out to for help with home repair or improvement projects. After all, state licensing requirements in various areas may ensure that contractors all have the same minimum level of knowledge in their field. Rather than comparing quotes from licensed and insured contractors as though they all provide equivalent results and experiences, consider that contractors may vary in these critical areas.
Expertise through Years of Experience
Some contractors may have only recently been licensed. While they may have minimal knowledge, they may lack true expertise in their trade. Superior expertise may be generated from years of experience working in their field. Therefore, as you compare contractors, pay attention to how many years they have been serving customers.
A Focus on Continuing Education
As important as expertise through years of experience is, it is equally critical that contractors take steps to keep their industry knowledge up-to-date. This can be difficult to screen contractors for, but one idea is to inquire about union membership. For example, HVAC contractor unions offer continuing education to their members, and some unions even require contractors to attend a minimum number of sessions in order to maintain their membership status. Therefore, checking union membership status is a smart step to take before hiring a contractor.
Great Reviews that Attest to Quality and Service
Even when contractors have similar experience and training, avoid assuming that the quality of service they provide is similar. Promptness, the quality of work, the speed of service, professionalism and overall friendliness may vary dramatically from contractor to contractor. A smart way to determine what type of experience you may have with one contractor versus others who serve your area is to read consumer reviews. Turn to an independent contractor review website to make an accurate comparison. Keep in mind that most contractors will have at least one or two bad reviews, and this should not deter you as long as there are an overwhelming number of positive reviews. If you see a trend in comments made in numerous negative reviews, this may be a warning sign that you should steer clear of that contractor.
Making a smart hiring decision when selecting contractors for your home is critical. By spending a few minutes vetting each home contractor in these specific areas, you can feel confident that the most qualified individuals are working on your home.