Small jobs help
I recently bought a small 2 bedroom fixer-upper. The main part of the house was built in 1918 and a 2 room addition was added some time later (no history of construction permits on file with the city so age of addition is unknown). Some upgrading/remodeling has been done, such as stone floors in kitchen and bath, new kitchen cabinets, some electrical (new breaker panel and new home run wiring but still some old wiring left). I had new windows installed 3 years ago and had the attic insulated. There are a few other projects that I will need to hire someone to do, nothing so big that I would need a general contractor but at least someone that knows what he's doing as it may involve a bit of framing/structural work. One in particular is replacing the entry door on the front of the house. It's a bit intimidating for me to tackle alone. I've read the other threads and posts and know about checking a contractor's license, bonding, references, etc. But given that there may be more than one way to do any particular job, how can I be sure that the person I hire will do it the MOST correct way or the BEST way? Also, who would be best for this job, a door guy or a framing carpenter?
Re: Small jobs help
Hiring anyone, for anything, is a crap shoot, which is why we recommend that you try to get leads from trusted family and friends who may have service personnel they have used with good outcomes. Beyond that, you can try sites such as Angie's List for referrals.
Unfortunately, there is no way to know if the person you hire is capable of the repairs you require until you hire them and see their work. Yes, you can check references, licenses, insurance, etc., but these things don't really paint an accurate picture of whom you're dealing with.
Ultimately, you have to go with your gut feeling. How does the individual make you feel? Would you trust them with the access to your home without your presence? Do they seem knowledgeable about the services you need?
The other thing I'd recommend is to have a list of all the things you want to do, both short term and long term, to the house. While you may not need a contractor to replace the door, maybe you do need one for a bathroom remodel or other larger project. A small door project is the perfect test to see the kind of work the person does, their work habits and ethic, site cleanliness, personality, these sorts of things. If all goes well and the tradesman is compatible, then you now have someone to handle the larger items on the list.
Re: Small jobs help
Spruce summed it up.
You could read more about this subject on line.