The cable just went out, and you don’t know how to fix it. Who do you call?  The cable man, of course. The drain is clogged, and you need some assistance. Who do you contact? The plumber, obviously.

When these situations arise, it’s important to be prepared and cautious when hiring someone to work in your home. The decision becomes even more critical when calling on behalf of a loved one. Here are four steps to help you make informed, safe decisions.

1.) Comfort Comes First

When seeking assistance for you or a loved one, the top priority is always comfort. Never hire someone who makes you uncomfortable or apprehensive. Judgment plays a large role when hiring someone to come into your home so be sure to pay attention to your gut instinct.

Moreover, when you are seeking someone to do work for an older family member or loved one, it’s important to make sure that they are comfortable with the idea of someone entering their home. Explain to them who is coming, at what time and what kind of work they are going to be doing. That way, they will feel more at ease when the time comes.

2.) Do Your Research

Nowadays, there are countless websites that offer names and personal reviews of companies and their intended services. The best part of using these sites is that the companies cannot pay to have reviews written for them. Rest assured that most of the comments are genuine.

Some credited sites to utilize are:

  •  Yelp
  •  Angie’s List
  •  Judy’s Book
  • Online Yellow Pages

After exploring these sites, check in with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau to make sure that the contractors you have selected do not have a history of disputes with past clients.

In addition to the Internet, word of mouth is always a great way to get information. Ask around. More often than not, a friend or family member has also dealt with having to hire a handyman.

3.) Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

Communication is key for this process. After researching contractors online and speaking with them over the phone, the next step is to meet face to face. Don’t let personality fool you. Whoever you meet with should be able to answer your questions adequately and in a way that puts you at ease.

Here are some questions to get your started:

  • What is your business history?
  • Who have you done work for in the past?
  • Who will be in my home and how will it be supervised?
  • Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns during the work?
  • Can you give me a timeline of the work being performed?
  • What is your work routine like?
  • What guarantees can you give me?
  • What is the overall price of the work being done?
  • What down payment do I have to put down?
  • What will be the final product?
  • Can I get everything in writing?

It’s beneficial to meet with three to four workers so that you can compare their prices, work ethics and overall intentions. Don’t be afraid to ask them who specifically they have done work for in the past so that you can contact them as well.  The more you know, the better you will feel about giving people access to your home.

4.) Be Present

Another thing to keep in mind is your own availability. When hiring a service, try to pick a day of time when you can be present. If you are scheduling for someone else, ask him or her if they would like you to accompany them when the service is being done. The best way for you or a loved one to feel confident and comfortable about the work being performed is for you to be present every step of the way.

Sources:
https://www.mrhandyman.com/blog/2011/may/hiring-a-handyman-protect-home-and-wallet/

Melanie Marzillo
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living