By Betsy Pond
Every year we like to remind the residents of Northern Virginia that just as you are making a repair list of exterior home maintenance items to tackle, so are the unqualified “jack legs” (unskilled laborers) who are canvassing your area to make a pitch.
So far this season, I have watched as no less than 5 different “experts” have canvassed my area looking for work. I have been told that my roof is in dire shape, the fascia boards are rotting, and the gutters must be replaced. I have actually seen neighbors who have recently replaced their roofs only to be told they need a new one. And an elderly couple was told that their chimney would probably collapse unless they paid $1,800 to have it fixed immediately.
It is just so easy when you know you need something needs fixing and someone magically shows up to fix it. No magic there – powder and smoke.
Luckily, I work for a very reputable company who responds to not only my home concerns, but to that of all our customers, as well. We know how to find good contractors, but the average homeowner must dig around to find qualified companies.
My advice: don’t answer the door unless you know who is there. If you are caught outside and are approached by people telling you your house needs immediate repairs, that’s the time to call in the professionals. You need go no further than to check any of the following resources for qualified contractors:
– Better Business Bureau
– Angie’s List
– Checkbook Magazine
– Washington Exterior Expert edition
All of these resources independently rate and share their results with the consumers of Northern Virginia. I can almost guarantee that if you hire an unknown worker, you may pay a lower rate because that worker probably has no office, no insurance, no office, and no intention of completing the job to your satisfaction. Once you have paid your tab, you will likely never see that worker again, and you would be very lucky to have him return to make things right should something go wrong.
Police your hires and protect your home. Call in the professionals.