Hire a professional for professional service

The Builder's Corner

Several years ago, while speaking at a seminar for consumers, I advanced the concept that homeowners should expect the same level of professionalism from their contractor that they expect from other professionals they trust, like attorneys, accountants and doctors. After all, homeowners trust contractors with one of their most valuable assets, their homes. I remember a woman in the audience asking me, in a very condescending tone, if I expected her to treat me like a doctor.
The point I was trying to make, which was lost on this woman and perhaps others as well, is that you should expect professionalism and integrity from your contractor and you should expect to pay for it.
If you had to hire an attorney to defend you in court, would you make that hiring decision based on an ad in the yellow pages? Would you ask three attorneys to give you a quote on the cost of your defense and then hire the attorney that gave you the lowest price? Obviously not, your money or your freedom may be at risk.
By the same token, if you were to ask three accountants to provide you with a proposal to prepare your tax return, each accountant would have to ask you several questions about your income, assets, etc. before being able to provide you with an approximate cost for their services. In some cases, an accountant may have to complete a thorough review of your financials, at your cost, before they could provide you with a proposal.
Similarly, when you visit your doctor, you are expected to pay for your exam and tests before the doctor can make a professional diagnosis. Imagine asking three doctors to provide you with an exam, testing, and diagnosis for free before you decide which doctor you will “hire” to treat you.
With a little research, you can find horror stories about consumers that trusted professionals who left those consumers significantly harmed physically, financially and emotionally.
In construction, a contractor’s mistake could be a simple error that is corrected quickly after it has been identified. However, there are significant contractor failures that can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Through your contractor’s incompetence or deceit, your actual cost of construction could far exceed your expectations and your budget. If the finances of your construction project are not managed properly, you may end up with a contractor who is unable to pay your vendors, leaving you to pay twice for your construction to avoid liens from the unpaid vendors. Poor construction can have various consequences, like diminishing your home’s value, shortening the life expectancy of your home’s components, or even preventing you from using your home due to serious code violations. The stress of a poorly managed construction process can steal your enthusiasm and leave you exhausted and frustrated upon completion.
When you understand the risks of hiring the wrong contractor, it doesn’t take much of a leap to understand that you should be just as earnest in selecting a contractor as you are in selecting the other professionals in whom you place your trust.

Thomas X. Lykos is a Certified General Contractor specializing in residential construction for over 30 years.
He is the president of The Lykos Group, Inc., a design/build residential remodeling and custom home builder serving Collier County since 1991.

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