One of the first questions that come up in a homeowner’s mind when deciding to have some home improvements completed is, “Who to hire?”?. Should it be a licensed plumber or HVAC technician, handyman or a neighbor down the street?
Today’s economy makes this question harder and the decision even more important. A dollar saved today could cost you hundreds or thousands tomorrow.
When making this decision it is important to consider the following questions.
Is the company or person licensed in the city you live?
A permit cannot be pulled by a company or individual who is not licensed in the city that the work is done. This means that the plumbing, heating or air conditioning replacement or remodeling work will not be checked by an inspector to make sure it is done correctly and up to city code (St. Paul, Minnesota in our service area). Potential dangerous conditions will not be identified such as incorrect venting of furnace or water heater fumes. Improper venting of waste pipes prevents proper functioning and could expose sewer gases. An unlicensed contractor or person will not know what work needs permits and what does not.
Another big problem arises when it comes time to sell your home. Most cities will not allow you to sell your home unless permits have been pulled for any improvements. It will be very difficult to find a licensed contractor to pull a permit for you unless they redo the work which could cost thousands of dollars.
How long has the company been around?
It is very common to find plumbing and heating companies that have been around for decades and have multiple generation owners. What you will want to avoid is companies that have been around a short period of time or somebody that does not have a company at all and just works out of his garage.
Business cycles change in the construction trade. A company or individual may be available now but will not be available when the economy gets better. Your guy may go back to work and is not interested in calling you back or a company may find a new source of business and is not interested in what they did for you.
Established businesses like St Paul Plumbing and Heating who have been around since 1918 understand how important it is to be available when a customer needs help. Whether it is the next day or years later, you want to know a company or person will be there for you.
What is their primary trade?
Handymen are very popular, especially now. They advertise that they can come into your house and take care of anything you may need done. “Jack of all trades and Master of none”?. The question is, how can you be trained and spend time mastering the trade if you do everything.
A plumbing, heating and cooling company that does plumbing, heating and cooling is your best option. Technicians of union companies like St Paul Plumbing and Heating spend up to 5 years learning their trade in classrooms and on the job. They are required to pass state and city tests to become licensed for their trade. Specifying in their trade allows them to learn the latest techniques along with mastering how to do the job right.
These are just a few of the many questions you will want to ask a contractor that you are looking to hire to do work in your home. Make sure you take time to research who is the best contractor to remodel or repair your plumbing, heating or cooling. Don’t be “Penny wise and pound foolish”?.