Eric Stromer shows you how to choose the right contractor for your project.
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How to Choose a Contractor
Featured Pro: Eric Stromer Category: Home Improvement Time: 3:47
ERIC STROMER: Hey, I’m Eric Stromer. And this is your GMC Trade Secret.
Now, you can probably do most of the projects around your house yourself, but sometimes you need to bring in some help. Now I’m going to show you how you can hire the right contractor for some of the big jobs around your home.
CARTER OOSTERHOUSE: So after that, check out my Trade Secret about using pavers on your driveway. It’s one of those big jobs that need a contractor.
ERIC: Choosing the right contractor for a job can be tricky business. If you choose the wrong person to work on a big job, it can spell disaster and big bucks. Make the wrong choice and you might as well have done the job yourself.
Now, there are a few things that you can do to make sure you get a good contractor to do the job right, on time and on budget.
First, do some due diligence. Now, I’ve got a contractor here that I’d like to introduce you to. This is Len from Peninsula Pavers.
Len, great to see you.
LEN: How are you?
ERIC: Great. Thank you. Now, you and I have been in this game 20-plus years. What is the qualification that usually people want when it comes to contractors?
LEN: A licensed, insured contractor, a warranty, and to come in on budget and on time.
ERIC: That’s exactly right. And also, for me, it would always be people who would come to a project that I’ve done and they would say that’s an amazing job. And if the homeowner liked what you did, they’ll be more than happy to recommend you, obviously.
ERIC: So referral primarily is the first thing, right?
ERIC: Okay. Now, if you can’t get referrals and you’re kind of up against the wall, what are some great options to find a contractor?
LEN: On the Internet. Our website is extensive, so people can shop any time of the day or night.
LEN: And it helps us out greatly.
ERIC: Now, also suppliers, right? They oftentimes can refer quality contractors that are working all the time, and that’s a good sign for somebody.
LEN: Yes. They’ve been in the business for years. They know who does the best installations and can recommend them without any concern.
ERIC: So you get one referral. How many more do you think you need?
LEN: Probably two more; three generally.
ERIC: And then you can compare bids and then kind of cross-reference what each person’s doing and then kind of educate yourself on how that process works as a consumer.
LEN: Who’s delivering what for what dollar amount.
ERIC: And then what are some of the other things that you recognize when a guy or girl shows up and you know they know what they’re doing? For and foremost for me, if the tools are dirty, they’ve been at it a while and they know what they’re doing. Too clean tools, stay away.
ERIC: Yeah. What else do you think? Some other options?
LEN: I let somebody walk me through the project, get an idea on their ideas, and complement them with my own.
ERIC: And then as far as workmanship goes, a neat job site, somebody that really kind of takes care of the job after the work is stopped, you know, between the nighttime shift and when the day starts again. I always find that that makes a big difference – a tidy work site.
LEN: Things should always be tidy at the end of the day, wrapped up, especially for safety.
ERIC: You know, the other thing I think people don’t realize, it’s a relationship you’re going to have with a guy or girl that comes to work on your house, and it could be up to three, four, five months. And if you don’t feel an instant connection to them, chances are it’s not going to work out when it comes time to pay them at the end of a job. So, again, it’s almost like meeting somebody that you want to not necessarily be friends with, but that you feel you can trust. Right?
LEN: I always tell my customers, once you have us, you have us for life, because we’re going to stand behind and warranty our products.
ERIC: That’s a good saying. Is that what you use in your business?
ERIC: Len, thanks a lot for all your tips; appreciate it.
LEN: Thank you, Eric.
ERIC: You bet.
Now, once you’ve found the contractor you want, be sure to get a written estimate of all the expenses for the project. You don’t want to be hit with an unexpected bill at the end. And it might be time-consuming, but doing your due diligence when searching for a contractor will save you time, money and hassle in the long run.
I’m Eric Stromer, and this is your GMC Trade Secret.