Are you looking to get some household chores taken off your plate such as cleaning & gardening? Or are you planning some major renovations? In either case and for everything in between, it is critically important to make sure that the individual or business that you are dealing with ticks all of the boxes in terms of compliance. You want to ensure the safety of your family, those working on your home and your property itself. Here is a helpful list of questions to ask BEFORE letting anyone perform any work in, on or at your home.
1.Are you insured?
Yes, this is an obvious one, but don’t just assume that because someone presents well they have adequate insurance. Don’t be shy to request a certificate of their insurance, there is no need to move forward based on assumptions. If the work that they will be performing carries a high level of risk, then make sure that they are covered for those specific activities.
2.Does everyone who will be working on your home have a police check?
Again, this may seem obvious, but in reality, when was the last time you actually asked this question? Many people feel uncomfortable asking about background checks, but remember, it is your home and there is absolutely no reason that you should feel uncomfortable in it. Beyond showing a clean track record of their staff (as Dr. Phil says, “the best predictor of future behaviours is past behaviours”) a business who has up to date police checks on all of their staff shows that they care about their customers and their reputation enough to maintain regular checks. Again, don’t be too shy to ask to see the actual checks if you have concerns. Most institutions that call for police checks also require them to be current to within 12 months. Remember, the fact that a business has current background checks on all of their staff says more than just that; it shows attention to detail. A business that dots their i’s and crosses their t’s in such areas will usually be compliant across the board with their insurance, safety procedures, equipment maintenance, quality control and more. A business that doesn’t value the details in one area will likely have neglected things in other areas as well.
3.Will you do the job cheaper for cash?
Now hold on! I’m not suggesting that you should actually have the job done cheaper for cash – but I do suggest that you ask. Why? Because the only reason that anyone does anything “cheaper for cash” is because they are not going to claim those earnings and thus not be taxed for them. This is illegal. If someone is willing to commit a crime in your home with you, then what basis do you have to trust that they will be honest in your home without you? Remember, if they will do it with you then they will do it to you. Like them or not, taxes are an essential part of how our economy functions. A business that cannot run successfully without paying ALL of their due taxes is like a child who cheats in monopoly. If you cannot win without breaking the rules/laws, then you shouldn’t be allowed to play. A truly honest business will put all of their earnings, whether received as cash or otherwise, through their books properly.
4.What safety procedures will be in place to prevent injury or damage to property?
If the works that are to be undertaken involve a high hazard, especially if it is high risk, then you should ask how this is to be handled. A hazard is the severity of something whilst the risk is the likelihood of it occurring. For example, a bricklayer is at a high risk of cutting his hands, but this is a low severity (or low hazard) issue which can be easily mitigated by wearing appropriate gloves. However, when there exists a real hazard of electrocution, falling, fire or another severe possible outcome, it is best to know and understand what procedures will be in place to mitigate that risk and protect lives and property. Make sure that you are comfortable with what is being proposed.
5.What is the business’ reputation like?
It is important to look for reviews of the business you are looking to deal with. Down the track, if you write one yourself, you want it to be because you were so happy with their service. But if you do need to leave a bad review and then realise that there are 30 other reviews complaining about the same issue that you faced, you will surely feel that you could have dodged this bullet! It costs nothing to do a little background research. Reviews and testimonials on a business’ own site are good and rarely faked, but you definitely want to check third party review services such as their Google Business Listing since the business cannot control what is and is not said. Also, take notice of the responses to reviews by the business, especially negative reviews. If the business has a tendency to fight and deny every negative review, then perhaps they won’t be good to deal with in the event that things don’t go to plan.
6.Why should I choose your business?
If you are comparing multiple businesses in an effort to decide which one you would like to deal with, feel free to ask them why they should be your choice. Businesses know what unique points they bring to the table and a competent operator will happily explain what separates their business from their competition. In asking this question, it is important that you know what you value most. Here is a link to a Facebook post on this topic – basically, you can pick any two of these three: fast, cheap, good. If you want a top quality finish to be cheap, then it will also be slow. If you want a quick job to be top quality, then it will also be more expensive. Once you know what matters most to you, asking “why should I choose your business?” becomes a very powerful question, since the answer will likely tell you whether this business is a good fit for you or not.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and depending on the specific works to be done, there could be dozens more questions to ask. But these basic questions will get you started and begin to give you a picture of who you are dealing with. Remember, you should feel comfortable in your own home and so there are no “silly questions.”