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Home Repair

People that live in their own homes will certainly need home repair services from time to time.  Getting help from home repair experts can be time consuming and confusing at best... even for local family members.

Be sure to compare service and prices from multiple contractors.  A reputable contractor won't have a problem putting their estimate in writing for you.  If they won't, move on to the next.

Remember though, price isn't everything.  A contractor with a low price isn't "a deal" if the product or workmanship is shoddy or if they don't stand behind their work.

Product Guarantees 

A product warranty or guarantee is really only as good as the company that stands behind it and then only as long as that company stays in business.  A 'Lifetime Guarantee' just isn't!

Be sure to find out how long a contractor has been in business.  A guarantee or warranty from a company that is only a few months old could be pretty shaky.  

However, if the contractor is a start-up, has good references, is a member of the local BBB, and you are willing to gamble a little, you might be able to get a pretty good deal.  Many contractors will give some pretty good prices and concessions for the first several months to a year... just to get those good references.

Be sure to ask for special senior pricing.  Many companies don't offer such discounts but some do and some will consider it... but only if you ask!

References

Be sure to get references from anyone that you employ to do services. Ask for references from jobs that are over a year old.  You can bet that older references are more of an indicator of quality workmanship than freshly done jobs that haven't gone through the test of time.  

Check those references, make sure that any contractor is properly insured and if they are going to do any sizeable job, make sure that they are bonded.  If the contractor is bonded and they fail to perform their duties, the bonding company can be forced to pay for another contractor to come in and finish the job.

Insurance

When looking for a contractor, you should always check to make sure that they are properly insured. Do not assume that they are insured just because they are in business.  If the contractor is not properly insured, you can potentially run the risk of liability if an accident occurs.  Kind of insurance you should check on include:

  • Workman's compensation - If one of the contractor's employees is injured on your property, workman's compensation will cover the medical costs and time off from work.  Without workman's compensation, an injured employee is likely to sue you for those costs. 

    Most employers are required by law to carry workman's compensation insurance and they can get into trouble if they don't.  But don't make the assumption that they are in compliance.
  • Property damage - If you hire a contractor that damages your property or that of a neighbor while performing their tasks, their property damage insurance will cover repair or replacement. 

    The contractor would still be liable for property damage, even without insurance.  But collecting from the contractor could end up being a very big problem. 

    There are other types of insurance that may be specific to the tasks that you are considering.  Be sure to ask potential contractors about all the insurance that they carry.

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