As I’ve said before in my previous blog post, there are some commitments you should stick to in January and some that are perhaps not as fulfilling or attainable. Its important to be realistic with yourself, and remember that you can’t do everything and be everyone, all the time. Thank being said, home improvements are a worthy investment that you can enjoy for the rest of the year. In fact, if they’re done right, you’ll be able to enjoy them until you get the itch to change them once again. Home improvements come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and budgets. If you want to start small, redecorating or repainting a room in your house is the perfect way to spark a little, but not too much change in your life. If you want to completely overhaul your perspective, redesigning your kitchen or putting in new flooring can be a great way of accomplishing this. If your New Year’s resolution includes moving or selling your residence, an overhaul of the interior or exterior is a good way to up the value of your home for potential buyers.
However, like I mentioned, its not always possible to undertake several home improvements at once. Maybe you want a new deck, and a new garden, and you want to fix the broken door in the basement, and maybe new carpet on the second floor would be nice…Hold on, you’re a working person with a 9-5 40 hour work week. You certainly don’t have the time to be installing new carpet. And wait a second. Build a new deck? Unless you work in contracting yourself or have an exceptional talent for engineering, its unlikely that you will be able to do a good number of home improvement projects. Relax, not everyone can build a house by themselves (I know I certainly can’t). So it looks like you’re going to have to hire someone.
Using our specific and localized service and 411 Directory Assistance business listings, you can find and compare renovators, contractors, painters, interior designers and any other professional services you may need to update your dwelling, for whatever purpose. Our directory allows you to sort by specific job and pick from a comprehensive list of experts.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of hiring the wrong man for the job. He shows up late, with the wrong tools. The project seems to drag on forever. It was just a bathtub refitting, why has it taken 5 weeks? Additionally, bad contractors will cut corners with their infrastructure and supplies. You, of course, won’t know about this until your new deck falls apart and by then the builder is long gone with your money. I had an incident at one point where we hired a man to build a tall wooden fence around our (modest) yard. It took him 2 weeks to show up, although he said he would be there in a few days, and then a ridiculously long time to actually build the thing. Here’s how to avoid such conundrums and ensure that if you want it done, its going to get done at a reasonable pace and with exceptional craftsmanship.
- Look at reviews. Do your homework here. You wouldn’t let just anyone waltz into your house and start installing a new dishwasher would you? You have a responsibility as a homeowner to make sure that anyone you hire knows their stuff. Check out all available service reviews online, and consider what they may tell you. While it is true that some customers are inclined to leave a negative review, if your contractor has only negative recent reviews, best steer clear. Make sure to really dig deep however, the first reviews that appear may garner more traffic (everyone wants to read something negative, its true) and may be pushed unfairly to the top. In addition, always keep in mind that you are way more likely to find negative reviews than positive. Most people who have a pleasant experience with a business do not review it unless specifically asked to. Some of the best business experiences I’ve ever had are with companies that had nothing but scathing negativity on their review site. Keep this in mind.
- …But keep in mind The Little Guy. Its a fairly well known but bitter truth of being a small business. A good reputation is much harder to establish if you can only handle one or two clients at a time. Bigger businesses can take on more projects, more hours, and more sales, because they have more staff and likely more resources. Make sure to look for services with a small number but consistently positive string of reviews. It may not look like strong evidence, but its a sign that the business in question is doing good work, but for a limited amount of people.
- Ask around and do some snooping. You’ll likely be visiting friends and family over the holidays and this means its the perfect time to scope out options for your next projects. If your cousin is sporting a brand new kitchen, make sure to get the constructor’s info before you leave. This is, admittedly, doing your research the old fashioned way but since you’re likely going to be spending a lot of time in peoples’ kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, etc. during holiday festivities, this is always a good tactic.
- Consider cost. There’s a popular saying that claims that if you want something done well, it won’t be cheap, and if you want something cheap, it won’t be done well. Touche. No one wants to spend more money than they need to, ever. But a home improvement project, as I’ve said, is an investment in your livelihood. In the long run it will cost you way more to redo a mediocre job. Jobs done for peanuts may even be unsafe and completed haphazardly. No one wants their stairs to collapse or their bathroom to flood of their wiring to fizzle out. The Golden Rule is as follows: you can have two out of three: cheap, well done, and fast. If you pick cheap and fast, it cannot be well done. If you want it well done and fast, it will cost you. If you don’t mind waiting longer than normal for a new bathroom, you can expect an inexpensive and well done job.