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Contractor Hiring 101

 Make a wise choice when choosing a home project pro

Q&A with Gavin Hepp of Webfoot Painting

Hiring a professional to help you with a home project can feel daunting. How do you choose the right person to trust, and know you’ll be paying for solid work? Gavin Hepp, owner of Webfoot Painting in Bend, Oregon, answers some questions to help guide your next contractor hire.

Q.  How do you begin a search for a good contractor?

A.  Reviews and referrals. Start within your own circle of friends and work associates. Have any of them done work recently? Ask them if they’d recommend using that same contractor. What did they especially like about that contractor? What didn’t they like? Any issues that took place?

Then do your own research online. All qualified contractors have reviews online, outside of their website homepage, of course. Read the good and read the bad. Did the contractor respond to any of the reviews? Responses show that a contractor is engaged and present in his business.

Q.  What are the top three questions to ask a potential contractor?

A. 1) Who actually does the work? Are they employees or sub-contractors? If the contractor isn’t going to be there, how does the crew know what we discussed?

2) What are you best at? Who are your customers?

3) What sets you apart from others? Why you?

Q.  What red flags should be looked for?

A.  No ID, no insurance, scare tactics about how bad the project looks, nothing in writing or no timelines, cash-only arrangements. The thing we see most from our competitors is quick quotes. Accurate and fair quotes take some time to thoughtfully create.

Q.  How do you assess whether or not a bid is reasonable?

A.  Very tough question. I think it comes down to understanding the work that’s going to take place and how the contractor plans to go about it. What are material costs like, and what options are available that might affect the project costs? Have open and honest conversations. Do you trust this person or do these conversations make him shift in his chair and look uncomfortable? Combine that with the level of professionalism displayed by the contractor. More professional may mean higher costs, but should also mean a greater level of service. You do get what you pay for, most times at least.

Q.  Anything in particular you should look for in a contract?

A.  Details, lots of details. It depends on the type of project, but for painting, the prep should be specified, the materials should specifically listed, the number of coats and what specific surfaces are included should be detailed—everything! Too often, bids are far too simple and generic. There should be no gray areas. Look for exclusions.

Q.  Any other pro tips for us when it comes to hiring a contractor?

A.  Think of the bid process like interviewing someone for a job position, or even a date! Would you date this person? Are you comfortable with this person, this company and their process?

Webfoot Painting is Central Oregon’s preeminent, award-winning, full-service residential and commercial repaint company. Webfoot is committed to providing clients with high-quality painting services and a hassle-free, friendly and professional experience.

Published: September 3, 2015

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