7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Service Provider

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Service Provider

Ask these important questions to find the best repair people for the job.

Choosing a service provider for home maintenance and repairs can be tricky, especially for new homeowners who have never had to deal with a furnace on the fritz or a fridge not cooling properly.

The wrong service provider may charge you too much, not perform the service correctly, or otherwise cause headaches you don’t have time to handle.

Doing a bit of research before you set up that service appointment can help save you from all of that. Here are seven questions to ask any service provider you’re thinking of hiring:

1. Are you a factory- or manufacturer-authorized servicer?

“A manufacturer authorization typically requires servicers to comply with service quality, training and replacement part standards established by the manufacturer,” explains Chris Granger, VP of sales and business development at Sears Holdings.

2. Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

Many people know to ask this question of their service providers — but fail to follow through, says Ron Holt, Birmingham, Alabama-based founder and CEO of the cleaning service Two Maids & a Mop.

“It’s extremely important to require validation of each type of insurance policy, business license or bonding contract,” he says. “Ask the provider to show proof, because some companies may answer yes to this question without actually being licensed, bonded or insured.”

3. Do you carry workers’ compensation insurance?

Just asking if they’re insured isn’t enough. Workers’ comp doesn’t occur to most people who simply need their furnace or appliances serviced. But it may be the single most important question to ask.

“Many homeowners don’t understand the amount of liability incurred by them if the provider is not adequately insured with workers’ compensation,” Holt says.

Any injury inside your home is subject to workers’ compensation laws — and even some injuries that occur outside of your home may be subject as well.

“A provider may have an auto accident traveling to your home and require medical treatment resulting from injuries,” Holt says. If the provider doesn’t have workers’ comp, you could end up responsible for those medical bills.

4. How long have you been in business?

Longevity of a business can be one indicator of reliability. If a business has been around a long time, it likely provides good service at a good price.

5. What will this service cost me?

Don’t be afraid to shop around and get price estimates for the service you need. Rates can vary widely, and you don’t want to overpay.

On the other side of that coin, service providers that charge dramatically less than their competitors could raise a red flag — those might be the ones who slap you with an inflated bill for “unforeseen” problems and cost overruns once the job is done.

6. Are you willing to provide references?

Most reputable companies will provide a list of satisfied customers or ratings. If they don’t, online review sites can help you weed out the companies you don’t want to work with.

7. Do you do background checks on your service people?

Don’t let anyone into your home who has not had a thorough background check for criminal and sex offenses.

Sears Home Services has all of these bases covered. In fact, every one of our technicians is thoroughly vetted and undergoes extensive training. That’s what makes us a company that has been a trusted service provider for generations.

Ask about getting a discount on your appointment. Schedule a local repair today.