If referrals aren’t provided, look elsewhere

Q: I have a number of small projects that need doing around the house. What is a good way to find a qualified handyman? I have looked in the Yellow Pages of the phone book and made a couple of calls, but they have not responded to come to my home and give me an estimate. I know I should ask them if they are insured and bonded. Are there other questions I should ask before hiring a handyman for a project? –Gretchen S.

A: There are actually a couple of steps that I recommend to anyone looking to hire a contractor of any type, including a handyman:

1. Know specifically what you want to have done. The more information you have available for the contractor, the better.

2. Try to get personal referrals, rather than relying on the phone book. If you have a friend or a relative who had some work done on their home that they were pleased with, that’s a great starting point. You can get some honest feedback about the contractor’s skill level, price, scheduling, level of cooperation, and much more. There are a lot of contractors out there to choose from, and, like most businesses, they succeed or fail mostly by their reputation, so a good referral is very helpful.

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