The last time you hired a professional to perform a service for you, were you satisfied with the results? How did you find them? Would you hire them again?
There are lots of ways to screen an individual or company. Some are free, some come at a small cost, but it is SO worth the time and effort to do your own little background check before handing someone access to your home, your possessions…or most importantly, your family!
Social media and its rising popularity has made this so easy – it’s as simple as logging into your facebook or twitter account and doing a simple search. Then go to google and type in a name – see what pops up.
Last summer, we hired a painting company to change the color of our home’s trim and to paint the cement patio. I posted the gig on craigslist, got about a billion responses, and chose one that I thought sounded reasonable. The husband/wife painting team showed up on time that first day, taped off the back patio, and told me they were on their way to Home Depot to get some paint, and could they get some money for materials. Without a second thought I handed over enough cash to buy all of the paint and supplies – then never heard from them again. Too little, too late, I did a quick google search for their names – and nothing came up. I googled the name of their supposed company – nada.
If only I had thought to do that BEFORE hiring them, I would have realized that having NO info on the web was a huge red flag.
Since then, Facebook and Twitter have blown up – and it’s easy to use them not only as fabulous time-killers, but as some of the most effective screening tools available today.
Considering hiring a new nanny? Check out her facebook profile – a friend of mine recently did this and was so glad that she did – she found charming posts like “took the kids with me to the liquor store and left them in the car” and “called in sick – way too much fun last night”.
What about hiring a Realtor? You should be looking for an agent that is on top of technology – whether you are looking to buy or sell your home. Check out their facebook profile – do they have a good balance between real estate-related updates and personal posts? Then they probably also have a ton of friends – and one of them might want to buy your house! Are they on twitter? They should be – this is a huge marketing tool that every good agent should be using. Check out Real Estate specific sites as well – Zillow, Trulia, and Active Rain are great places to start – your agent should have a profile on each of these and be active in their communities, both real and virtual, this is a great indicator of both their knowledge of today’s Real Estate industry and of what’s going on in their local market.
No matter what you are hiring a pro to do – clean your kids’ teeth, resurface your driveway, mow your lawn, sell your home – check them out before hiring them!