Eeny, Meeny, Miny… NO! Don’t Leave it to Chance!

by Rick Borman

Whether a project has been suddenly foisted upon you in the form of the failure of your 10 year old 2-ton air conditioning unit that has failed or perhaps it’s just plain high time to bring that 1990’s kitchen into the 21st century, the age old question of choosing the right contractor can be as much a nuanced art form as it is a challenge in Southwest Florida.

Naples is known nationwide for our tropical lifestyle, the nation’s finest homes, world-class dining, golf and those fabulous Gulf sunsets. With all of this, one might surmise that finding and hiring a contractor for any project from a small one to a complete remodel would offer up a plethora of excellent choices. This is not always the case, however.

We seem to be incessantly bombarded by advertisements for companies that promise to tackle small projects or find you the perfect contactor by simply going online and filling out a short form.

I have personally tried these services and I was left less than impressed by the person who came to my door, which in turn left me unimpressed by the company’s vetting process.

Remember, any project that involves multiple phases means that not only must you have full confidence in the skills and pro-standards of your hire, but you can count on seeing a lot of each other nearly daily until that job is finished.

Personal chemistry and ease of communication with your vendor becomes critical with longer or more complex projects. You need to trust his or her judgment and be able to say whatever is on your mind and have that person really listen and implement.

As a licensed certified professional home inspector and FAA commercial drone pilot, I am asked almost daily for recommendations for any variety of licensed tradesmen. I make a practice to provide three names and only those in whom I am fully confident.

My hypothesis is that the only currently reliable way to choose the “right” contractor is the old fashioned way; ask your friends and neighbors.

Make sure to ask them specific questions such as:∙ Were you happy with the job when it was completed?∙ Did the project get done on time and on budget?∙ Were the workers respectful and truly skilled at their respective trades?∙ How was the communication with the contractor when it came to changes or challenges?

If the situation permits, inquire if you might be able to pay a brief visit to the recommending person’s home to see a sample of their contractor’s work. Their experiences can tell you a lot about what you may expect and experience. Your friends know you, so they will be weighing whether you and their recommended contractor will work well together.

This kind of calculation is something that no algorithm can provide. Of course, if you are hiring an architect, you will be presented with his short list of preferred contractors that have worked successfully with your architect in the past.

There is no substitute for the real life experiences of friends, relatives and neighbors when it comes to making the decision of whom to invite into your home to provide a service.

There are many truly gifted, honest and professional contractors in every trade in the Naples area. The challenge is to find the ones that make your life easier. Once you have compiled your very own little black book of vendors, you will not want to ever let them go. You may even find yourself being a little reluctant to share your treasure with just anyone

.Rick Borman, Owner, Reliable Inspections of Naples and 3D Aerial Imaging , 239.778.1176 ,

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