Here’s How to Make Sure You Hire the Right One
to Repair Your Fire Damage!
When it comes to getting fire damage repaired one of the most important, and one of the most difficult, decisions a homeowner has to make is which contractor to hire.
Many homeowners make the mistake of just going with the first or second person they meet.
Other homeowners may skip the entire interview process and simply go with a contractor that was recommended by a friend or family member.
The truth is going with a recommendation, no matter how much you respect the person making the recommendation, can also be a big mistake.
Unless, that person has suffered his or her own house fire and has seen a contractor repair fire damage firsthand, the recommendation is basically worthless.
You see, repairing fire damage is a whole different animal compared to traditional contracting work. That’s why many contractors specialize in this type of work.
Yes, they may cost more but they also usually deliver much better and safer work.
That means if you have a home that has suffered fire damage you are going to need to conduct a series of interviews to find the best contractor for your project.
While this may sound daunting, please keep in mind this quote from Benjamin Disraeli, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, “As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.”
Here are some tips to make sure your contractor interviews go well and you get the information you need to hire the best person for your project.
STEP 1: Preparation Breeds Confidence
The first step to conducting a good interview is to know exactly what you’re getting into. That means you need to be able to walk into the interview with a general understanding of your project and what it will entail.
The best way to get this knowledge is through research online as well as talking to your inspector, insurance agent and others.
You’ll also learn more as you talk to the contractors. Make sure to have them explain everything to you so that you can improve your knowledge and end up making the best decision.
You should also be sure to research each contractor you are meeting with. If they have a website be sure to look it over. Read their testimonials and any ratings that are available on the web.
STEP 2: Exhibit “Casual Professionalism”
No, this is not an oxymoron. You need to be casual yet also professional. You want to find a contractor you can rely on – someone who is knowledgeable and professional and hard working.
It is OK to be friendly but you should also have a set of questions prepared to ask the contractor. Don’t just “wing it.”
Ask your questions and give the contractor time to answer each thoroughly. This will help you get a better feel for them as well as increase your knowledge of the project and what is needed.
If an answer doesn’t make sense to you, ask them for clarification. The worst thing you can do is to sit and listen to some long, drawn-out answer that you don’t understand.
When talking to the contractors, you should also be sure to stick to discussing your project. Don’t let yourself or them go off on tangents.
STEP 3: Create Your Own Action Plan
Don’t be afraid, after your project research, to create an action plan that details what you would like to see happen with your project.
Then you can present this plan to each contractor and see if it is reasonable and feasible. Based on what they say, you can make changes and you’ll also be able to make a more informed decision on who is going to be able to deliver what you are looking for.
Here Some Additional Interviewing Tips:
Regarding the possibility of a contractor running late. It’s up to you whether to accept this or not but it is OK to acknowledge that extenuating circumstances do occur (flat tires, accidents do happen).
However, if a contractor is extremely late that can be a sign of disrespect and also an indication of what to expect if they were working on your project.
In the event that some unforeseen event, such as an accident, does occur, the contractor should call as quickly as possible and ask to reschedule if the delay is going to be longer than 15 minutes.
If your schedule allows for a reasonable postponement, upon arrival the contractor should address the issue immediately and apologize. They were expected to be there at a specific time, and despite the fact that events beyond their control happened, it is not your fault.
The contractor should apologize profusely. He or she should also acknowledge what happened and give great detail so there is no doubt in anyone’s mind whatsoever that they are not telling a little white lie simply because they underestimated traffic conditions or were busy elsewhere.
Another good interviewing tip is to leave your cell phone in another room. Do not even take the risk of it going off during the interview. In addition, you don’t want to be reading an email or sending a text message when talking with a contractor. Your focus should be on them.
When meeting with a contractor, be friendly and courteous. At the end of the interview, the contractor should thank you for the opportunity to interview for your project and express eagerness about the possibility of working on it.
Be sure to ask each contractor for a business card. This will make it easier to contact them going forward.
Also, be sure to bring a pen and notepad to the interview. Do not write furiously; just jot the occasional note. Focus on understanding what the contractor is saying as opposed to documenting everything they say.
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