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Dos and Don'ts of Hiring Labor from the Internet

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Thanks to the Internet, finding labor has never been easier. Gone are the days of frantically flipping through the yellow pages, looking for a contractor, until you finally find someone who can do the job. Not only can you find a list of labor contractors located in your area online, but you can read testimonials and reviews about their service to make an educated decision about who to hire.

Where to Find Labor Online

There are countless websites to find and hire labor for any kind of job. The two most popular places on the web for finding labor help are Craigslist and Angie's List.

Craigslist

The Internet's largest classified ads page--where you can find anything from a job to a used car--can be an extremely useful tool for finding labor. However, it is not as heavily regulated as other sites and is home to a lot of con artists looking to take advantage of vulnerable and unwitting Internet users.

Angie's List

This website is specifically devoted to hosting a listing of contractors that can do plumbing, electrical work, heating and cooling, and even roof repair. Angie's List has become one of the most convenient places to find labor by allowing users to browse reviews of contractors in their area so they can make an informed and educated decision.

TIP: With any site, it's important to be on the look-out for any potential scams and always do the appropriate background research on a company.

Here are some dos and don'ts for hiring labor from Craigslist or Angie's List:

DO:

  • Weigh your options. Shop around and have a few options before you make your final decision. Pick about three companies or contractors and read their reviews posted on Angie's List. Personally contact each one, either by phone or by email, and interview them. Ask them about their experience, their areas of expertise, and for references for recent jobs they have done.

  • Know exactly what kind of job you need done before you begin searching for labor. You should be able to outline precisely what your job entails. Doing this will also help you narrow down your search and find the company or contractor that specializes in the specific type of work you require.

  • Ask a lot of questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions about whatever you're not sure about. When you receive an estimate, make sure to ask if it includes parts and labor. Ask for the estimate in writing so you can reference it later on. Asking questions will help you understand everything you need to know about the company and job, and will let the contractor know that you are educated on the process.

DON'T:

  • Provide the contractor with any personal information or bank information before they have accepted the job. When using the Internet to find contractors for labor, you open yourself up to unprofessional companies and contractors who are looking to scam unsuspecting victims. The best way to avoid falling prey is to never give out any personal information to a company before you have made sure that they are valid and trustworthy. Be aware of red flags such as asking for your credit card information or address.

  • Pay a large deposit for any kind of job. Another common type of scam is asking the customer to place a large deposit for the job. You should never have to pay a large sum of money to a contractor before the work is done. If you are asked to do so, you should begin looking elsewhere for another contractor.

  • Hire the first company you find. You have the entirety of the Internet at your fingertips, so use it! If you stumble upon a company near you with great reviews and a lot of experience, don't just jump the gun and hire them right away. Keep your eyes peeled for a better deal and get a few more estimates from other contractors. Chances are, you may find something even better--and maybe the first company will bring their price down to match it. It can't hurt to try!

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on August 5, 2013

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