Everybody is on a budget which often means that we cut corners just to save a buck or two. More often than not these shortcuts can end up costing us much more than it was worth to begin with and nowhere is this more true than in the home improvement industry.
Builders, plumbers, electricians and other household industries have developed a very bad reputation over the years for delivering less than the best service. However, I don’t believe that all of them are entirely to blame and that homeowners often turn on these tradesmen as a result of their own frugality.
My Grandfather always used to say “If you buy cheap, you get cheap.” This does not necessarily mean that you need to opt for the most expensive home improvement products and services. Neither does it mean that you will be getting the best when you pay the most.
There is a happy medium where you will find fair quotations for good reliable labor as well as the products you need for your home improvement. There are also ways in which you can take control of your home improvement needs to make sure it is done right the first time.
Word of mouth is still the best way to market a good product so make sure that you choose household products that are well known and have a good reputation in the industry. Be sure to ask any tradesmen for any references they may have and check on those references to ensure that they are fair.
Be sure to check up on those references in person. In other words show up at jobs previously listed by the tradesmen, checkout the quality of their work and ask questions such as whether the project was completed on time and whether the relevant tradesman was professional and courteous in his or her dealings.
If you can’t find reliable references take a walk around your neighborhood and find properties that have recently been renovated and look in good shape. Pop a note into the postbox and ask if the homeowner would be willing to contact you with the name and contact information for their contractor. You will be surprised how often people are willing to forward details of a job well done.
Don’t just accept the first quote that you are given. Compare at least three quotes and make sure to take into account any guarantees for products and labor as well as value added services that may be included in the quote. For example, if you are buying carpeting find out if the installation is included in the quote.
Last but by no means least, don’t attempt any home improvements yourself if you don’t know what you are doing. This is especially important for the plumbing and electrical in your home but can have just as many disastrous consequences for a building project.
Take control of your own home improvement and make sure that everything is done right the first time.