At this writing I would like to begin a six part series highlighting the key components of hiring a good, reliable contractor and having a fulfilling, positive experience. It is my desire that you will benefit from these writings in such a way that you will ultimately choose contractors for your project that will not only exceed your expectations but you will be able to recommend them to your friends and family in the future! Whoever you hire should make you look good!
Service is the first area we will address. Service is a word that is often overused and under demonstrated. First thing out of the gate is request current references. And then call them! Ask past customers about their experience; about any weaknesses with the contractor and what they liked. Were expectations met? Were “issues” addressed immediately and to everyone’s satisfaction? Was the service good overall?
Ask for trade references. Contractors work with other contractors on a daily basis and good ones have long term, established relationships. They can provide insight as well. At Kitchens by Clay we always provide a multi-page referral list that consists of both customers and trade partners.
Another sure way to get a good idea of what your service will be like is to simply be observant during the sales process. I’m saying that what you see is what you are going to get. Did they call back when they said they would? Was the pricing and design received in a timely manner? Meeting deadlines before the contract is signed is a good indication of what will come after. Who is controlling the entire project? If you are finding out just now that the salesman bows out and the contractor takes over but he delegates his responsibility to a supervisor (who typically has never even met you); then he comes down with chicken pox and has to stay home…well you get the idea. Too many chefs in the kitchen can ruin the soufflé.
Remember doing your homework before contract will be the most effective way to insure you receive the best service possible.