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How to avoid hiring a bad contractor in an emergency situation

Over the years at we’ve written several articles about how to choose the right tradesman or about the essential questions to ask before hiring a contractor. However, we’ve never talked about what to do in an emergency situation. What’s the difference you might ask? Quite a lot actually.

You’d think that if anyone would be able to avoid a bad contractor experience it might be someone who either works in the industry or writes about it for a living. However, recently one of our own staff members had a bad contractor experience after panicking over sudden damage to their home.

Panic = Poor Decisions

The guidelines for choosing a reputable contractor are fairly straightforward:

  • research thoroughly
  • ask for credentials and past customer reviews
  • never rely on website pictures alone (they can easily be faked)
  • get at least three quotes
  • never rely on price alone!

However, the fact of the matter is that panic often results in poor decisions. When facing a home repair emergency such as burst pipes, a broken window or door, power outages or malfunctioning furnace, your first instinct is probably going to be to get the items repaired as quickly as possible. This is especially true if the item is essential to your home’s safety or in the face of a holiday or other important event.

To avoid making the bad, panic-induced decisions, the best thing to do is to compile a list of emergency contractors before an emergency hits.

How to Make an Emergency Contractor List

An emergency contractor list is a list of at least two pre-qualified contractors per trade, whom you can call on in the event of a household emergency. You do all of the research in advance, perhaps on a weekend afternoon. Look for references, professional credentials, and customer reviews. Take note of their proximity to your home, since you’ll want them close by in an emergency, and be sure to ask about a quote for emergency calls. When making this request, let them know that you are considering them for your emergency contractor list, and aren’t calling about an existing emergency.

Ensure that you add more than one contractor to your emergency list. This will ensure that you have a backup or two if your first choice is unable to come when you need them.

Here is an example of the contractors you’ll want to add to your list:

  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Appliance Repair Technicians
  • Window Companies that can retrofit and not just brick to brick replace
  • Locksmiths
  • Disaster Recovery Specialists (specializing in water damage, fire damage, and mold removal)

Ready to get started on your list? You can begin by browsing the listings here at We have an extensive list of local contractors, featuring reviews, pictures, videos, and more!


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