Contractors know how to fix things. Some of them know how to fix deals too. Guard yourself against weaseley workers by formulating a plan before making a call.

Shop around

Getting an estimate places you under no obligation to actually buy services. Continually remind yourself (and the contractor if needed) that the point of an estimate is to compare prices.

Perform repairs in order

If you’re doing a combination of repairs to drywall, plumbing and electrical work, NEVER do drywall first, since one of the other contractors will probably have a legitimate reason for tearing it up again. Repair bills suck, and duplicate bills for patching recently installed drywall suck twice as much.

Know what the job will cover

Essential. If you don’t get your estimate in writing, at least discuss the job details thoroughly so that these don’t happen-

“Oh, cleanup isn’t included in the price? Well what should I do with the ten bags of drywall scraps and pile of insulation on my back deck?”

“Oh, you meant that fixing the washing machine was extra and not included with the dryer repairs?”

“It will cost extra to have a key made for this doorknob? What am I supposed to do if it gets locked from the other side?”

Watch out for add-ons

Educate yourself about the repairs that need to be done before calling, so that you can reasonably explain which repairs you don’t want and don’t need.

“You say that there’s more mold to remove behind those panels?”

“Are you sure that my air conditioner refrigerant line needs to be replaced too?”

“Your partner says that the cobwebs appear to be from black widow spiders?”

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