Last week, we talked about creating a money bucket for your home maintenance. Today, I want to talk about how to hire a contractor for things like landscaping, home repairs, a new roof, etc.

I happen to be lucky enough to have a husband who has learned to do a lot of the smaller jobs himself. Although I do admit much of it came through a lot of trial and errors. I remember Mark’s first home maintenance attempt at installing a humidifier – we ended up with a mini flood in the furnace room. Now he knows what to attempt himself and what to leave up to the experts.

Mark’s Golden Rule:  Unless you know what you’re doing, if the repair is related to gas or electricity do not attempt the repair yourself.  Hire a professional!

Recently, we had a pretty bad leak in our roof and it was causing water damage in my daughter’s bedroom. We contacted our local handyman and he attempted a roof repair but it failed. We feared this meant we would have to get a new roof.

The good news is that we ended up with a very honest roofer who suggested that he could do a $500 roof repair today and then plan to replace the entire roof in about 5 years for around $14,000.

We had been considering replacing the roof since it didn’t match too well after our last home addition. We decided to ignore the mismatch for a few more years and earmark specific funds in our brokerage account for the new roof.

One thing you will need to estimate is how much more it will cost to do this in the future. We will make sure to budget another $2000 just in case. Another way to plan for this expense would be to save around $250/per month or $125/per paycheck if you are paid two times per month.

I asked Mark for some tips on how he hires the right contractor.

  1. Get a referral just like you would when looking to hire an attorney, CPA or find a good doctor. In our case of needing a new roof, you could ask your neighbors who are happy. There is often one company that does everyone in the neighborhood. In our case, we asked our builder who he recommended and you can see it was a great choice.
  2. Get a couple of quotes and ask for the names and phone numbers of other satisfied customers.
  3. Follow your gut and don’t get pressured to make a quick decision. Usually you will get an immediate feeling from a person. Trust this feeling. You will get a sense of a person in the first few seconds after you meet them – way before the sales presentation begins.
  4. Get it in writing.  Get the details of the job in writing so there’s no misunderstanding later.
  5. Make a deposit.  Don’t pay in full until the job is complete.  This gives you leverage and you can ensure that the job was done right.

Then remember to create that money bucket – Your Cash Cushion for both the planned and unexpected.

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Also, please post your questions below and share this video with your friends! Until next time, live with Purpose, Passion and Prosperity!