When I was younger my parents hired a custom home builder to install a patio on our home. Looking for a deal, they hired a contractor who ended up ripping them off. He took half the money up front, poured a concrete slab and then took the rest of the money and disappeared. We never did complete that patio and for years simply had a concrete slab next to our house in the backyard. I’d like you to avoid this type of situation when hiring a contractor, whether it’s for concrete, general construction or, my favorite, hiring a window film installation company.
Selecting a good contractor is important because the quality of their work and project management goes a long way towards ensuring the job is done right, on time and on budget. While you can never be 100% certain of getting an honest contractor who will perform to expectations, there are things to look for that will improve your odds of selecting the perfect one for you.
Let’s focus on hiring a contractor to install window film on your home, office or business. Window film is my trade and I know how the industry works, but the same principles apply for all contractors. Window tint dealers, like most construction trades, have well established companies and plenty of people ready and willing to do your work “off the books”, sometimes for substantially less money. Sure, you can hire this guy who claims to know how to do the work, but this is the easiest way to get ripped off and be disappointed. It is always a good idea to go with a reputable company that’s been in business for a while, who has a contractor’s license (ask to see it or check your State’s website), and who can supply references.
Having a contractor’s license and being in business for some time means they are usually competent at what they do, especially if they have a great reputation. This is a great way to eliminate most of the fly-by-night companies and find the average contractors, but now I’m going to tell you how to decide who the outstanding contractors are, the ones who go the extra mile and who will give you the best products and service you can get.
Qualities of a Super Contractor
Finding a contractor who is licensed and who been in business for awhile, while no guarantee, should get you a competent company that can do the job, but how do you find those companies that will go the extra mile for you? You need to check them just as thoroughly as they are going to check you, and you need to do this when they arrive to estimate your job. Here’s what to look for:
Do they listen? Nothing is more irksome, and uncomforting, than a salesperson who talks incessantly, never taking the time to listen to what you are saying. It’s a salesperson’s job to find out what you want and to let you know how you can get it. Too many companies push what they want to (or have to) sell and not what their client wants.
Do they ask the right questions? Part of listening is asking the right questions. The salesperson from the company should know his business and his product much more than you do, so he needs to ask you questions that highlight what is possible, taking into consideration factors you might not have thought about.
Do they try to educate you on the product or process? Good companies teach you some of the important things you need to know about the product or service you’re buying. Good products and services don’t need to be sold because the benefits are so obvious. Companies that keep you in the dark or that seem to be hiding something “you don’t need to know” raise red flags.
Are they honest? People that lie about little things will lie about the big ones. If you discover the contractor is lying to you stop right there. You don’t want to do business with them.
Do they dress nice and show up on time? Both of these are signs of respect for you, your business and your time. While not deal breakers the best companies and contractors will do both.