"How Do I Know That You'll Do A Good Job?"
That's a question I encounter from time to time. It's a question that I completely understand. Hiring and trusting a contractor to work in your home can be a daunting task. There are a slew of home improvement shows on HGTV about shady contractors causing horrible damage to the homes of unwary and unlucky families. You might not know that here in North Texas there are no licensing requirements to work as a handyman or remodeler. As a result, lower-skilled tradesmen such as painters will magically become remodeling experts when work dries up. How do they acquire the skills needed to do so? They aren't learning them in trade schools or through apprenticeship programs (at least not in Texas). So how can you tell the good contractors from the bad ones? An easy way to do so is to become an informed customer.
An informed customer is less likely to be taken for the proverbial ride. You don't need to be an expert in home remodeling in order to undertake a project. But you should at least understand the basics. For example, I recently met with a customer about remodeling his walk-in shower. He proceeded to show me the shower and asked bluntly, "How much?". He didn't know what kind of tile he wanted, what fixtures he needed, or anything about the remodeling process. And yet he wanted the job done as cheaply and quickly as possible. Was he willing to pay for the design and procurement of materials? Nope. We soon ran into an impasse when he asked the titular question, "How do I know that you'll do a good job?". It's not like I could produce a crystal ball showing the end result of my work. I was unable to assure him to his satisfaction that I would do a competent job. After all, anyone can claim to be a skilled professional in a right-to-work state. The end result was that I had to pass on the job and tell the customer he would be better off calling someone else.
Luckily for you, we live in a time of readily available information. Had this customer done a simple internet search for Golden Home Improvement, most of his questions and concerns would have been answered before I arrived. We have reviews on Angi's List that go back more than 20 years. This proves that we aren't a fly-by-night company. If you're reading this, you can find our website with pictures of our projects including shower remodels. We also have a long list of loyal customers that will gladly tell you about the good work that we have done for them. Don't be afraid to ask for such references. Word of Mouth is how a good contractor stays in business over the years.
Becoming an informed customer will save you time and/or money on your next remodeling project. You can use your newfound knowledge to ask a potential contractor questions about his or her methods. A good one will always be willing to answer such questions. Do check out their online reviews, but keep in mind that many reviews these days are just paid placements or advertisements. Buying such reviews has become a big business, but that's a story for another day. Don't hesitate to ask your friends, coworkers, and relatives for recommendations. A good and trustworthy contractor's info will be shared between friends much like an honest car mechanic. And most important of all, be very careful when hiring friends or relatives to do work on your home. Nothing sours a friendship faster than a home improvement project gone bad!
In conclusion, you have a responsibility to do some simple research before hiring a contractor. Understanding the basics of your project can save you time, money, and your mental well-being. Remember, if the lowest bidder does a shoddy job and you have to redo it, then you haven't saved any money at all!