Hiring A Contractor? Protect Yourself From A Bad Decision By Using These 6 Tips

My friend Elise desperately needed to hire a website designer. The landing page she had from five years ago was just not cutting it any longer. She needed advice about how to hire the right fit and what she should look for in a contractor.

I explained to her, I have a checklist I go through, but I also use my instinct. I don’t think I am alone in this area where the “gut” becomes another factor you consider when making a decision. Especially when hiring. Sometimes you get that little voice in your head that says everything seems right and checks out, but for some reason I just have a bad feeling. 

How do you know you hired the right person? When should you trust that little voice? This is a checklist I created after my own experiences and horror stories that were told to me throughout the years. Hopefully it can help mitigate some of the stress and potential financial risks you face down the road. 

A checklist to help mitigate risk

1. Referrals are at the top of my list

Ask your network. Family and friends, do they have rave reviews about a person they worked with or a service they just love? This is a great place to start. Just remember, you still have to do your due diligence. 

 2. Review the reviews

We live in a world where you basically can find out anything about a person, including what they had for breakfast. Take the time to read some of the reviews. Does the person do what they say they will do? Are there any negative comments that are red flags for moving forward? Seeing 5 out of 5 stars is a great sign, but don’t base your decision solely off the rating. 

Look a little deeper. check out their website and come up with questions to ask at a deeper level. 

3. Inquire about the process

When you finally do speak with a live person, be ready with questions. What are your expectations, this will save you time and money. For instance, timelines. Creating the timelines and being transparent about them with your vendor will help keep the project and the person you hire accountable. 

Discuss with your vendor how they prefer to communicate. If you’re the type of person who needs regular check-ins, then explain that. Not everyone’s working style is the same and you can save yourself a ton of time and headaches knowing what to expect with communication from the beginning.

In the contract world people can get burned on both sides. Contractors are nervous to get full payment and employers are fearful the contractor won’t do the full job. The best route I have found is to split the payments. This can be a third at the start, the second third mid-way at a particular milestone you can check on and then finally, the balance once the project is complete. This is one plan that often works well. There are others, and the point is to make sure your payment plan works to ease both your mind and that of your vendor so you get the best person for the job.

4. “I want it now” 

For most of us we juggle 100 items on our to-do list. That means that sometimes important tasks get pushed off until the last minute and that can cause panic buying to set in. Instead of doing this to yourself, get organized and create a little mental space between critical decisions. Even a few extra days to research and review before having to sign on the dotted line will save you grief and perhaps money in the long run. 

5. But what about other major decisions, like healthcare, that you pay for month over month, will it work when you need it?

Smart decision-making applies to impulse buys as well as things we contemplate buying for a long time before pulling the trigger on them. Healthcare is a great example of a decision that you want done right because of the many things that can go wrong when you pick the wrong provider or plan. Some decisions are truly complicated and really need input from different sources to ensure you’re thinking it over intelligently. 

In cases like this, look for information from multiple sources. Reviews and feedback from real customers can be very helpful. As can a company’s responses to 1-star ratings on social media or review sites. Just be careful that you don’t only look at reviews. How you would use a product is a variable you have to consider. For example one health plan may be amazing for a family in Arizona but a single person in New York has a different set of needs. Look at different angles to help ensure you’re thinking your decision through thoroughly and pay attention to all red flags that come up along the way.

6. Expectations and processes

Using healthcare as an example, the fine print will tell you that not all healthcare is created equal. Have you ever read the fine print? Are you ok with reimbursements? What are your monthly costs? What happens when a medical need occurs? What’s actually included and what’s left out that you may really need in your plan? Healthcare is not a one-size fits-all model so you need to get in front of whomever you can to get your individual questions answered.  Take the extra time to speak with a representative or use their chat function to get all your questions answered so you can make an informed decision.

The bottom line is that if you want to avoid costly mistakes from hiring vendors or from critical life purchases like health insurance, you have to take the time necessary to make a smart decision. Read, review and ask questions. Know what you’re buying. Compare plans, shop around. Compare your first thoughts with your red flags and make sure you’re able to get your needs met in a way that works for you.

So what about that little voice? Remember that it’s there with you the entire time while you’re playing detective and gathering info. Keep checking in with yourself and if something doesn’t sit right, pay attention to it. Intuition is a powerful tool. The more you use it, the more intune you become with yourself. And, the more you will learn that you can trust your instincts.

If you’re in the market for health insurance, consider learning about healthshares so you’re a fully informed customer. indipop has healthshare plans that meet the needs of individuals and families alike. Inquire today. hello@indipop.co



Melissa Blatt

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