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So You Want to Hire a Contractor...

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Things to consider when choosing a contractor in Florida.- Chad Olson, Mr. Handyman

Have you been putting off those home improvement projects that are on your to-do list? Perhaps you can do some of them, but there are others that are beyond your pay grade. Enter the contractor...

However, there are several things to consider first. Do not automatically expect that you will have the same experience based on a friend’s recommendation. Your friend may have hired someone to do drywall work and it turned out great, but that same contractor might not have the skills to rebuild your shower. 

Do Your Homework
Ensure that the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured to do your specific type of work in the State of Florida. Ask for a license number and visit to ensure it’s valid and active.  

Ask for a copy of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance policies. These protect the homeowner in the event that the contractor hired is injured or property damage occurs.

Check (the Better Business Bureau website) for the contractor’s overall rating (rated A to F), how long they’ve been in business, and any complaints against them.  

Reputation, reputation, reputation. Go online and look at reviews (Angie’s List, Google, and Yelp are good places to start). See what customers have actually experienced. A company with very few reviews may be an issue. Are they brand-new, inexperienced, or did they just reform under a new name because of reputation issues? A company with more than 10 years of experience and hundreds of positive reviews is likely to produce consistent results.

Go to the company’s website. Are there good photos of recently completed jobs?

Important Questions to Ask
Do they hire technicians or utilize subcontractors? You may hire the same contractor as your friend, but if you get different subcontractors you may have a very different experience. If the company hires its own staff, do they do drug testing and perform background checks? Allowing an individual into your home without knowledge of the person’s background puts you and your family at risk.

Do they answer the phone and/or return phone calls in a timely fashion? If not, imagine if there is a dispute with the work performed.

Do they ask for money up-front? You can put yourself at risk by giving a company money up-front.

Do they warrant their work? If so, for how long and what are the conditions? Are there online complaints about the company not honoring its warranty? If you have a dispute with an individual, who will come back and do the repairs?  

More Food for Thought
Do they accept credit cards as forms of payment?

How do they approach scheduling home visits? Do they offer set appointment times? Do they work on Saturdays?

Do they wear booties inside of the home and clean up after themselves?

Do they charge by the hour or by the type of work performed?

At the end of the day, you will ultimately get what you pay for. You don’t go to a fast-food restaurant expecting the quality of service and food you would get at a high-end restaurant. The same concept applies when hiring a contractor. If the price seems too good to be true, it usually is!  

Chad Olson is the local franchise owner for Mr. Handyman with more than 10 years experience in the industry. Mr. Handyman is a licensed general contractor that specializes in home improvement. Chad can be reached at 407-403-5975 or at


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