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Too often, we as consumers make our decisions based on price alone, and we do not take into account all the red flags or other variables that should be considered when purchasing either a service or a product. I have found that in the remodeling industry that many people hire a contractor based on very little information or consideration of that particular persons work or reputation. We like to pass around names of people who come to our house and install window trim around one window, and then somehow that same person becomes the go to handyman for us and all our friends. But have we ever stopped to consider that that person may not be as qualified as we might think? Sure he looks like he knows what he is doing, but does he have the experience that he claims? Many times so called handymen go on youtube to figure out how to do something. This is not the type of person I would want working in my home...
Take for instance, I had a friend of ours hire a contractor 5 years ago to do some work at their home. He was hired to remove a wall and install new flooring and a stone fireplace. The "contractor" was hired and did the job as asked. Fast forward 5 years to now...I go into the house and see the ceiling starting to sag and the popcorn starting to fall off and wonder what was happening. I immediately knew that he removed a load bearing wall and did not install the proper support in its place. This created a huge problem because the house was starting to sag down the middle. The floor upstairs had dropped 5/8" in the middle over 5 years. This is highly dangerous and could have caused major structural issues if left unattended. In this particular friends case they were looking to sell the home and this would have been a red flag for any inspector. I discussed with them the issue, and showed them how we could fix it. I went out the next week and installed the proper support and repaired the ceiling to match the existing popcorn. Now the house is properly supported and the homeowner can sleep soundly tonight knowing it was done correctly.
Now...Where is the other contractor you ask? He cannot be reached by telephone or any other form of communication. He has disappeared. He had no insurance, no license and no competency to do the project. It cost the homeowner twice as much as it would have if they had just hired a licensed contractor in the first place. But they did not know any better and this "contractor" came recommended by other friends.
My friends...do not hire someone based only on a friends recommendation. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Check to see if the person is licensed. Check to see they are insured. Check with other referrals that are not your friends. Make sure they are qualified to be in your home and working on your house, otherwise if could cost you more than just your money.
Jared M Duff
Owner and Designer at Kraftsmen Remodeling & Construction