How to Find a Contractor in a Busy Area
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from Mike in Nevada who listens to The Money Pit on KBZZ.
Mike, how can we help?
MIKE: Hey, I appreciate you taking my call.
LESLIE: No problem. What can we do for you?
MIKE: We live in an area that is experiencing some pretty phenomenal growth. And as a result, the contractors are pretty tough to get a hold of. And when you do find one, they’re three, four months out just to quote and another six or eight months to do any work. So I was trying to see whether or not there were any sources that I could avail myself of to do some remodeling of a kitchen and a bathroom in our home. I realize that that’s usually the best for value but it’s also probably one of the most difficult areas to remodel.
LESLIE: Especially for a do-it-yourself project.
MIKE: Yeah, and I’m pretty handy and I understand concepts relating to bearing walls and different things as far as home construction. But then when it comes down to actually doing some of the intricate work, I’m not sure that I’d be able to do it, so I thought, “Well, maybe there’s some sources that I could go to that would help me along.”
TOM: Well, there actually is. There’s a great website that helps you find home improvement contractors. It’s called Service Magic and it basically matches homeowners to prescreened home improvement contractors. You simply pick the category for the remodel that you’d like to do, if it’s a kitchen or a bath; you provide some information; and basically what Service Magic does is they’re hooked up with contractors that are very interested in that work. So while the people that you’re talking to might be really backed up, they might be really busy, there could be a really good guy in your area that you just don’t know about that when the Service Magic system sends them out a lead, they’ll contact you. And they basically will give you two or three or four referrals to contractors in your area and you can shop from there. But I like the fact that they prescreen them because that lessons the chance that you’re going to get hooked up with somebody who’s not going to do a good job for you.
MIKE: No, that sounds great; especially if they’re working with licensed contractors, too.
TOM: Exactly. They check them for their legal background, their licensing; you know, just to make sure that they do a good job. There’s a lot of ways to do background checks on contractors, checking with their suppliers and things like that. It takes some time and I like the fact that the contractors that are affiliated with a program like Service Magic are really kind of holding their hand up and identifying themselves as the cream of the crop by putting themselves through that kind of scrutiny.
MIKE: So you’re pretty much recommending that I still go with a contractor of some sort rather than trying to do this myself.
TOM: Well, if you’re not real comfortable with it, you definitely should use a pro because you’re only going to pay to do it once that way. OK?
MIKE: That’s right. Exactly. No, I agree.
TOM: Mike, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.