Angies List Tips to Hiring a Contractor
May 7, 2009
Angies List founder, Angie Hicks, offered some tips recently on an ABC station on hiring a contractor to do work on your home. According to polls taken by Angie’s List members, homeowners are spending more on home improvement than in recent years. A contractor interviewed on the news segment concurred that a lot of people are choosing to remodel their homes instead of buying or building new homes due to the tough real estate market.
Lower Prices for Home Improvement?
The same poll on Angies List indicated that due to the recession, a lot of members have found contractors dropping their prices by at least 10% in order to get the work. Despite the discounts, remodeling your house isn’t cheap so the advice Angie gives is that you typically need to stay in your home for a few years to recoup the cost of the job. She re-iterated the advice I’ve heard before that work on kitchens and bathrooms often brings the best return on investment.
To help with the cost of the job she suggests getting several estimates and negotiating with the contractors to see who can offer the best price.
Quality of Work
Of course, it’s not all about the price, the quality of the work is just as important. To find someone who will do a good job, Angie recommends using a contractor you found on a referral, whether through friends or family or via a service like Angies List.
I think this is one of her best pieces of advice. We have a friend who got some really low price quotes from a contractor who came to her door offering to do some work. Of course she was excited due to the low cost but to me it was a red flag to do some further investigation.
If the price seems too good to be true it pays to dig deeper and find out the reason for good deal. It could be that the contractor is really hurting for work, however, it could also be that they do a horrible job and can only compete on price.
I know a guy that runs a local concrete business and he says about 30–40% of the work he does is fixing the mistakes of other contractors.
Common Sense Hiring Tips
The tips the news segment offered are pretty common sense. Double check that the contractor is licensed and insured and ask for references of other work they’ve done. Before you pay any money or have them start on a job get a contract with all of the work spelled out.
Another good reason to research a contractor, especially in a bad economy, is that you don’t want to have them start on a project and then have them go out of business on you part way through. Apparently Angies List offers a service called ContractorCheck in partnership with Experian that allows it’s members to check the credit of businesses and contractors before hiring them.
When I researched joining the service I discovered you can use Angies List promo codes to save money on membership if you want to signup and try it out. Right now you can use the promo code of HOMEWORK to save $20.
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All posts by Ben Edwards