Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring an Installer
A friend contacted me, frustrated. He had just had his master bathroom remodeled by a local contractor. He was disappointed in the experience from start to finish but continued with the work. He asked "what's the best way to vet contractors so I don't make the same mistake for my next remodel?"
I shared some tips with him via text message that evening. We exchanged messages until late. Two or Three bullet points turned into a list of Do’s and Don’ts to find the right person or company for a project.
I hope you find these experienced-based tips useful and use my knowledge broadly, outside of just Low-Voltage installers like us and this helps you where you are on your journey.
Referrals are Key.
The absolute best business is a referral from a friend or family member. Making that first call feels more natural, like you already have a relationship. Name dropping a specific person at the business speaks volumes to the team.
Interview 3 Contractors.
It’s about first impressions.
In our business and on the personal side, we like to see three bids by interacting with three companies and have a couple company’s walk the site. You can get a feel on how they operate by:
1. Do they answer the phone or call you right back? Same goes for email, chat, text. Not all social messages are managed by in-house employees so sticking with the standard methods are essential. But please don’t fax. Never fax. 😂
2. Do they show up on time for the estimate?
3. Do they get you an estimate quickly? Or at least, do they circle up after the site visit?
4. Do they review the estimate with you? Do you know what you’re getting? Are you on the same page?
Social Media Reviews aren’t Everything.
Social can be a great way to share an experience, good or bad. Without great company processes, customer experiences can eb and flow during the same year. It's bound to happen where someone has a bad day. Have grace. Read the reviews and decide for yourself if the company is worth a ring or not. Can’t we all be friends? The answer is probably not. That sounds harsh but zooming out, contractors and clients have a shared goal in mind with the best intentions with customer satisfaction being the cornerstone.
Expectations, Project Management & Process.
This person is assigned to the project, the bridge between the sale and the guys who get it done. They are THE person to ensure customer satisfaction, deadlines and deliverables. Not all company’s have a point person but the ones that do operate more efficiently and ultimately have better customer satisfaction. Will your project have one? Ask about the companies process and who to talk to if there's a disruption during the project.
Are They Licensed?
2 - Parter
Licensing ensures the contractor doesn't just say the know what they're doing but has passed state exams to prove they know what they are doing in their respective field. Companies with employees pass this knowledge by thorough trainings. There are do’s and don’ts in every trade. For example the National Electrical Code or NEC, mandates extension cords not be run in walls as it is a fire hazard. Eek! Knowledge is important. Your buddy doesn’t always know best.
The other side of Licensing is Bonding and Insurance. In the unfortunate event of damage to a structure or a person being hurt on a project, it’s important to hire a contractor that has these credentials in their tool belt. The customer then has an state governed intermediary to pursue rectification. We commonly say licensed, bonded and insured which is a state mandate to ensure fiscal and physical safety on the job site.
”it’s important to hire a contractor that has these credentials in their tool belt.
Takeaways and The Trifecta
Price, Quality, Time: Choose 2
When deciding on a contractor, know your goal in terms of dollars budgeted, completion deadline, and level of expected quality. Cheaper isn’t better. We continually follow companies who deliver quickly and cheaply but with sub-par quality or worse, against code. Know who's in charge and who's going to sign their name to your project. Do your research and ask a lot of questions! Our best customers are informed and it's our mission to keep them in-the-know.