My Life

Hiring a Contractor

Yeah, I know a post on home renovation contractors probably seems unrelated to most of what I post here but I thought it was relevant. Well, not really. I was just mostly kind of annoyed.

In the past we’ve had great experiences with contractors and terrible experiences. The terrible experiences have *always* been with companies that were not listed in the Better Business Bureau. With the BBB businesses we’ve never had a problem and have never needed to report a contractor. So it has basically become our filter.

A few of the BBB businesses we worked with had mentioned that they were considering no longer being a member (I guess it costs an annual fee) and we explained that we would never have hired them without them being part of the BBB.

So, anyways, we use the BBB. However, that does sometimes limit our choice of contractors. For a specialized service there might only be a handful of companies in the BBB. And during busy times none of them might be available (when we tried to have our basement built we were told to expect 1 – 1.5 year wait times before construction began!)

I have a second rule that I like to apply when hiring people… an online presence. Too many contractors are only available via phone and this can make tracking them down difficult. And I’ve ran into situations where I know the contractor was at another job site when talking to me and they weren’t writing a single detail down that we were discussing. Which meant the next time we talked the conversation started all over again.

So anyways I’d love to be able to hire contractors who are part of the BBB and have an active online presence — able to be reached by e-mail at the very least so that details can be documented and not forgotten. But for several kinds of construction work there might be only one or two companies fitting the bill! Which makes getting multiple quotes kind of dicey.

So anyways, that’s some thoughts I have about hiring contractors. My posting this has absolutely nothing to do with my frustration over a particular contractor not completing work at our ‘old home’ in time for us to transfer it to the new owners. Honest…

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.

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