When something goes wrong in your home, you have two options.
You can either fix the situation yourself or you can call out a repair service. In a lot of cases, you should consider the latter, as there are some jobs you probably shouldn’t handle yourself. You wouldn’t want to make repairs to your electrical systems, for example, as you could be in for a very nasty shock indeed. And if you didn’t know the first thing about your plumbing fixtures, you probably shouldn’t tamper with them yourself, as you might instigate a flood of Biblical proportions! Let’s just hope you have an Ark at the ready!!
So, while there are some issues you can manage yourself – changing a fuse or replacing your lightbulb should be a doddle – there are other situations where you should call out a professional.
However, you still need to be careful. There are lots of rogue traders out there, and they could cause even more damage to your home and your finances, so you want to avoid them. You can sort the good from the bad by asking any potential repair service the following questions.
#1: Are you licensed?
There are licensing laws across most states, so you do need to check that the repair service has the necessary licenses and certifications required. If they don’t, they might not be qualified for the job at hand, or they might have little knowledge of the safety protocols that need to be put in place. So, stick with a licensed electrician, plumber, or any type of handyperson, for the protection of your home and your personal finances.
#2: How experienced are you?
You want to make sure that the firm you hire has the experience necessary to handle the repair job in question. Companies akin to Ritz Plumbing, who have decades of experience in their industry, might be preferable to a new startup, for example, as they will have dealt with nearly every plumbing problem imaginable. This isn’t to say new companies aren’t worth hiring, especially if their teams are fully trained, but industry veterans will have honed their skills over time, so are generally preferable.
#3: Are you insured?
This is a biggie because if the handyperson doesn’t have the correct insurance, you might end up footing the bill if mistakes are made on your property. Most homeowner policies exclude damages that arise from uninsured contractors, so you might not have the financial protection needed to rescue you from any costly error made by the repair service in question. So, ask to see a certificate of insurance before hiring anybody for the job, as that will give you greater peace of mind and financial security.
#4: How soon can you get to me?
If it’s an urgent repair job, you want somebody as soon as possible. You wouldn’t want to wait too long if a pipe had burst, for example, or if there were any other repair issues that could inflict damage on yourself or your property. For less urgent repair jobs, you might not need anybody immediately. However, there are some issues that can get worse over time, so you should still try to get somebody who can visit your home as soon as possible.
#5: How much do you charge?
You need to be mindful of those home repair services that charge more than they should for the fixes in question. You need to be mindful of hidden charges too, such as call-out fees. In some cases, you can expect some damage to your bank account, but it’s still worth asking for quotes from prospective repair services first. Do a quick Google search too, and research the prices you should be paying. This will give you an idea of the expense that should be expected, and you won’t then run the risk of being scammed by any repair service that seeks to overcharge you. You can also use specialized online marketplaces like ServiceMarket to get free price quotes from many contractors at once and see what’s the average cost for such services in your area.
#6: Do you include a warranty?
Before you sign a contract with the service, ask them if they include a warranty. If it does, you will be in your right to call on them again if any repair issues persist, as they should agree to return to you to fix the problem free of charge.
Admittedly, if you need a repair service in a hurry, you might neglect to ask some of these questions. In fact, the only question you might ask is ‘how soon can you get to me’ if your home is facing an impending disaster! Still, try to stay calm and ask as many questions as you can, no matter the situation, as you will then save your home from any further expenses.