How To Choose and Hire the RIGHT Contractor
Hiring The Best Contractor
Last week I read with great dismay a Facebook post from a Phoenix area homeowner that had been ripped off by a person calling himself a contractor. The reason I say, “calling himself a contractor” is; this person did not have an Arizona Contractors License…so he was NOT a “contractor”, he was a criminal!
Her comment stated that she felt this “contractor” ripped her off because she was a single woman who didn’t know any better.
Unfortunately because my Facebook friend had identified this “criminal” as a “contractor” in her post, many other people commented with similar stories and comments about how “contractors” like “auto mechanics” can’t be trusted.
In defense of my very livelihood and the many high caliber people I know who earn an honest living as air conditioning and heating contractors, plumbing contractors and general contractors…as well as auto mechanics, I posted the following comment:
“Having worked for, and been an air conditioning and heating contractor for the last twenty six years, and knowing MANY decent contractors in all trades I can attest to how many are trustworthy, honest, caring people just earning a living.”
“These individuals have widowed mothers, single sisters and daughters themselves and are not out to scam people. They are craftsmen who love building things with their hands and saving the day by fixing things and providing solutions for peoples problems.”
“Every time I’ve seen a situation like this and unfortunately I’ve seen too many, it’s always because the homeowner did not do their due diligence before handing over a check.”
Certainly my Facebook friend did not deserve to be ripped off, but had she done even a little research, chances are she would never have hired this person in the first place.
I gave the following advice and am sharing it again with the hopes that it saves somebody else from the same rotten experience:
Take the following steps prior to hiring an air conditioning company or any type of contractor:
• ONLY HIRE A LICENSED CONTRACTOR – The Arizona Registrar of Contractors requires proof of a persons experience in the trade in order to get licensed. They also perform criminal background checks and assure the individual has the financial stability needed to work with the general public. In addition there is a reserve fund to reimburse a homeowner if a contractor doesn’t do the right thing. These funds are ONLY available to consumers who hire a licensed contractor!
• CHECK WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU – Bottom line, if the business management doesn’t have enough faith in their company or product to commit to adhering to the core values and business practices required become a BBB Accredited Business…why should a consumer have faith in them. Check that they’ve maintained a high grade with the BBB over the years…if they haven’t there’s a reason!
• CHECK OUT WHAT OTHERS SAY – Check the online review sites like Kudzu.com and AngiesList.com, and see what the businesses past customers have to say about their experience with the company. Some reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt, but if the majority of past customers are happy…or unhappy…chances are you’ll have a similar experience.
• LOOK UP THE COMPANY ADDRESS – If a company doesn’t have a brick and mortar physical address, they may not have ties to the community or be financially stable and could be a “flight risk”. If the address is a home and not a commercial building, proceed with caution! Be sure to use Google Maps or similar “street view” app to make sure the location is real and not an empty lot somewhere or a different business.
• SEARCH FACEBOOK & TWITTER – See what consumers have posted about their experience with the company on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and associated comments. Also see how the company has responded to people’s comments and questions.
• DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST! – If you do your research BEFORE calling the company out to provide an estimate, you will save time by not wasting it sitting down with a company representative you wouldn’t use anyway.
If you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area and looking for the best air conditioning contractor…you’re already here!