There is a difference between a professional and a handyman. Here’s how you tell:
When you have work done in your home, you literally have to live with the results. And when that work deals with your home’s plumbing, heating or cooling systems, it takes on even more meaning, as your family’s health, safety and comfort are involved.
So when the time comes that you need plumbing, heating or cooling work, make sure you choose a trained, full-time professional – not just a “handyman” who does this kind of work on the side. Regardless of whether you’re modernizing an entire system or need a simple repair, one of the easiest ways to find a qualified contractor is to choose one that is a member of The Great Southwestern Illinois Association of PHCC.
We are pleased to offer the following tips to help you choose a PHCC contractor:
- Ask for references. Homeowners for whom the contractor has previously worked are excellent sources for information. Ask the contractor for names of customers in your area. Contact those people and ask their opinion of the contractor’s work.
- Check reputation. Call the Better Business Bureau. The St. Louis office also serves Southern Illinois – (314) 645-3300. Ask if any complaints have been filed against a contractor.
- Inquire about stability. How long has the contractor been in business? Ask about the firm’s experience and the expertise of its staff.
- Check local licenses. Many towns require that contractors be licensed to ensure that all health, safety and building codes are followed. If that’s the case, ask the contractor for the company’s license number or call the Building Inspection and Licensing Department at your city hall.
- Make sure you are not liable. Ask to see proof that the contractor has both liability and workman’s compensation insurance. If the contractor doesn’t carry workmen’s compensation insurance, you could be liable for any accidents on your property, including injury to the technician.
- Check into building permits. Most localities require a building permit for large home improvement projects. Contact you local licensing or permit department to see if your project will require one. Make this call before the work begins and check with the contractor to make sure he’s done his homework, too.
- Request an estimate. To get an idea of the overall cost, ask for an estimate. Remember that choosing a contractor should be based on more than just the lowest estimate. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
- Look into service agreements. Many contractors also offer service agreements that provide periodic check-ups of your plumbing, heating or cooling systems. The cost of such a contract is usually worthwhile, since these inspections can often prevent major repair emergencies.