Choosing an appliance is an important decision for a homeowner.  They generally want to choose an appliance with a proven value and feel comfortable that it is a quality product.  If something does go wrong with that appliance they want to know that the manufacturer has a history of doing what is necessary to remedy the situation. Most big name appliance companies are large public companies with state of the art robotics and huge quality control budgets.  It will most definitely affect their bottom line if their products have a history of failure.  They also definitely do not want to be the subject of a poor review in Consumer Magazine.  The point is, the appliance is most likely going to do what it’s supposed to do and will do it in an adequately efficient and safe way.

Homeowners probably put more time, concern, and effort into choosing an appliance than they do in ensuring that they are using quality trade partners and associates.   But where are problems more likely to occur?  Is it more likely that an appliance will fail than it might be for a trade partner?  The quick answer is NO.

Currently there is a government building being renovated.  A big problem was created from water intrusion.  It turns out that the windows were installed backwards.  The manufacturer didn’t manufacture bad windows; the trade partner installed them incorrectly.

We could all tell stories of how some home repair project turned sour.  This article is not to imply that trades people are bad.  This is to simply point out that trades people are human and make mistakes, and the simple fact is, some are better than others.  Statistically, the potential damage from a trade partner is far greater than it is from say, an appliance.  That’s why it is extremely important that a contractor and/or a homeowner choose the right trade partner(s).   Choosing a trade partner with a bad reputation, a history of mistakes, or simply choosing a trade partner because they are cheaper, is a mistake.  Choosing the right trade partners is the most important decision that a homeowner or contractor can make.   A little bit of homework may save years of headaches and expenses.  The information is out there.  No one is perfect and mistakes will be made regardless of the business’s history, but statistics truly tell a story.

 What you can do:

  1. Make sure they are currently licensed and insured.
  2. Ask for references and then follow up.
  3. Ask for proof of completed projects.
  4. Ask for verifiable information on their experience, education, and training.
  5. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed.
  6. Check the State Licensing Board to see if complaints have been filed.
  7. If it’s a trade that supplies material, contact material suppliers to get character feedback.
  8. Ask building inspectors for feedback. Some will give you feedback and some will not, but the body language speaks volumes.
  9. Visit their office or facilities. How they organize their office or facilities will give you a pretty good idea of how they run their business. Is it adequately clean and organized or obviously dirty and cluttered?
  10. Run a criminal background check. It’s easy and inexpensive.

In closing, it’s well worth the time to do a little research and cheaper is not synonymous with better.

Erik Suojanen, CEO
The Pampering Plumber