Check References Before Hiring Contractor

Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks stressed the importance of checking a contractor’s references before making any home improvement hiring decisions.

“Checking references can seem like a hassle, but it’s really an important step in the hiring process so that you are sure you get the right person,” she said. “You want to make sure what they are promising you is in fact true.”

According to a nationwide Angie’s List poll, nearly 50 percent of respondents say they typically ask for a list of references when hiring a home improvement contractor; while nearly 20 percent said they never ask for a list.  However only 44 percent said they follow up and contact those references while 13 percent opt out.

Hicks advised that when speaking with references be sure to ask open ended questions instead of closed ended questions. Doing so would enable you to pick up on tidbits about the contractor’s experience.

“Keep in mind the contractor is probably giving you references that had a good experience. You’re just really looking for a bigger picture of what it’s like to work with the contractor,” she explained.

If you’re wondering how to get the scoop on whether or not a contractor is the right fit for your home improvement project, Hicks provided a list of nine questions to ask three recent customers.

•    What kind of work did the contractor do for you? Was it a large scale remodeling project or a smaller one? What was your overall goal for the project?
•    Did you have a clear idea of what the contractor was going to do?
•    Did you check the contractor’s credentials?
•    Did they show up on time?
•    What was working with the contractor’s crew or subcontractors like?
•    Was communication with the contractor adequate?
•    Did your job come in according to budget?
•    Did you get the results you expected?
•    Would you hire this contractor again?

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