How to Find a Good Contractor for Your Home

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For homeowners, it often seems that the hardest part about home updates isn’t the work itself; it’s finding a competent handyman professional or contractor to do the job. Updating kitchen cabinets, painting, and hanging mirrors or lights aren’t as tough as ensuring you hire a skilled handyman or handywoman to deliver top notch performance from start to finish.

Use these places to help you find the right contractor for your home projects and keep your budget and sanity under control.

Get recommendations
This is really simple and it’s effective: Talk to your friends, relatives and co-workers to see if they have any handyman professionals to recommend. Your neighbors who have done similar projects are great resources, too. Get the names of who they used for their home updates and maintenance, and find out why they liked the handyman or handywoman.

Check out the ACHP directory
The Association of Certified Handyman Professionals directory provides a list of handymen and handywomen who have passed a certification exam. Members are knowledgeable professionals who have the general skills of the trade. The directory proves the perfect place for individuals seeking a certified handyman or handywoman, inspector, etc.

Conduct phone interviews
Once you have a list of some handymen and handywomen, make a brief phone call to each of those prospects. Make sure to ask them some questions about the project you would like completed, and find out how many other projects they would be working on at the same time. It’s smart to ask about their use of and relationship with subcontractors, too.

Once you know the handyman professional’s answers to these questions, you can truly grasp the availability, reliability, the amount of attention they will be able to dedicate to your project. This is a good indication of how smoothly things will go.

Meet face-to-face
After the phone interviews, you’ll probably have a clear idea of your frontrunners and who you are seriously considering for hire. Pick those few to meet with so you can get to know them better and get estimates. Ask the handyman professionals a lot of questions — and the same questions — so you are comparing apples to apples. You need to make sure you communicate well with the handyman or handywoman since he or she will spend hours in your home. Make sure to get written bids for each if you are hiring for a one time project.

Check in with their clients
Have the handyman professional provide a list of references for his or her past or present clients. Contact those clients (with permission) and find out more about how their project went and their views on the handyman or handywoman.

Everyone has heard horror stories about handymen or handywomen who didn’t complete projects or wound up charging three times the original estimate. Make sure you take the time to find and hire a reputable handyman professional or contractor so you know who you are working with from the start.