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Photo Credit: Erik Abderhalden

Tips for Working With Service Providers

Tips for Working with Service Providers

Have you ever postponed making repairs or starting projects because you're not sure about dealing with contractors and other service providers? You know you should get the windows repaired before winter, but you've heard so many contractor horror stories that you keep putting it off? Even the best service providers can be a disruption to your daily routines, but you shouldn't let that keep you from hiring a service provider and starting a project. Whether you need a carpet laid or a basement waterproofed, these tips will help you have a smooth experience with your service provider.

Put It in Writing

Having a written agreement in place before the project begins will make working with a service provider much easier. Have a copy of the agreement on hand when your service providers arrive to begin the project, so that you can refer to it if any problems arise. You can see a sample contract with an independent contractor on the website of the US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Nation, at http://www.uschambersmallbusinessnation.com/toolkits/tool/indcon_m. At a minimum, the agreement should cover:

  • The exact scope of the work to be done;
  • The materials to be used;
  • The start date and completion date of the project;
  • How and when payments are to be made;
  • An agreement on the project clean-up i.e. if the job is going to be a long one, you should agree in advance if clean-up will occur daily, weekly or only at the end of the job.


One of the most common concerns of homeowners is the time spent waiting for contractors to arrive. If your service providers will only be in your home for a short time, see if you can work out a time for the job that suits your household's schedule. If you're offered an 8 a.m. appointment but you have to make a school run, don't hesitate to ask for a later time that works for you. If the appointment is within a window of time, ask if the service providers can call your cell phone when they're 15 minutes away, so you can run to the store if you need to.

Project Preparation

It will make the service providers' job easier if you clear away clutter from the rooms and areas that they will be working in during the project. Pets should be kept out of the way too. If the project is outdoors and you don't have an outdoor power source available, let the service providers know in advance so that they can bring their own power source if needed.

During the Job

Once you've made sure that the service providers have everything they need for the job, you can probably get on with your day. On the other hand, if you are curious about the process, most service providers are generally happy to explain what they're doing. And you may learn some valuable tips in the process.
If you have another project or repair that needs to be done and your current job has been completed, ask the contractor if they can take a look at it for you. Unless they have time constraints for another job, many contractors might be willing to inspect the job and give you an opinion.
What about hospitality?  Should you offer your contractors beverages and food? It's generally not necessary to make them lunch, but an offer of tea, coffee or bottled water is a nice gesture. Most contractors will usually bring their own food and drink with them.

After the Job

Now that the job is finished, how would you evaluate the experience of working with your service provider? Did they arrive promptly at the agreed-upon time? Was the project completed in the agreed-upon time frame? Was the project work explained clearly to you? If materials needed to dry or set, were you warned about that? Was the clean-up after the job performed to your satisfaction? If you're unsatisfied with any aspect of the project, make sure to let your service provider know immediately so they can work with you to resolve any problems.

Now that you've decided to go ahead with your project, let BizPals help you to find the right service provider for the job!