OneSource IPS July 9, 2016 How to Properly Hire a Service Provider Most people hire a service provider for their property through word of mouth or websites such as Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. Regardless of how the business is established, you can’t take their online presence as gold. Property owners must do their own due diligence by doing more research. Here are a few tips that we suggest: “Are you insured?” is the first question that should be asked when hiring a contractor to do work on your property. This covers you from having any liability if an accident should occur. Ask if the contractor is registered with a PA business license. This is how you determine whether they run an accredited operation. What is their contact information? If they give you a PO Box address and a cell phone number, how will you track them down if you have any problems with their work? If they are not willing to give you a physical address for you to do business with them at, this could be a sign of danger. Get referrals. Good and bad ones. Checking referrals can be important because you can get an idea of how the service provider behaves and what the end product is like. Ask to not only talk to people that were happy with their work, but also with people that either chose not to use them or that were unhappy with their work. Anyone can give you names of people that like them. To get a well-rounded view, you should talk to a variety of customers. You can go a step further and check online for any lawsuits that were brought against the contractor through the Department of Court Records. Get multiple estimates. Generally, two or three estimates will give you a reasonable idea of what the price should be. Request an estimate in writing but be aware that not all companies will do this and there may be some cost associated with getting one. For more information, see our post: Are “Free” Estimates Really Free. Lastly, review the project at the end. Have the service provider walk you through the work that was completed. If there are any warranties on the products, make sure you are given the information on that material. Is there a warranty on the workmanship? If the service provider promised you a warranty on the work before it was completed, make sure you get the details on it before they leave the work site. Hopefully, these steps can help prevent you from potential problems. There are many horror stories out there of people hiring service providers without doing their research in the interest of saving a buck or two.