Seven Traits to look for When Hiring a Service

What kind of company do you want to work with?  What traits would that company have?  Have you ever hired someone to work on your home and were disappointed in their service, quality or integrity?  I have many of these stories.  I once used a plumber who also did some electrical work.  I worked with this plumber for years, giving him lots of business in running air lines in our fabrication shop to fixing plumbing issues at my home.  Over time I began to hear stories about their lack of integrity.  Then it hit me personally and I was lied to and taken advantage of.  I will never use this plumber again and will encourage others not to.  There was a cost to not doing my due diligence in hiring the right firm.

Then there is the myriad of people I’ve attempted to hire at my farm who don’t show up, who take lots of phone calls to get the work done, who break things and don’t claim it, who throw trash in my woods, etc.  It can be very frustrating to find the right people to work with.  Do you have any of these stories?  Is price more important to you or would you rather have a reputable partner that will probably cost you less in the long run?

Here are the traits we look for when hiring subcontractors or partners.

  1. Integrity
  2. Quality reputation and portfolio of work – will the company back their work?
  3. Experience
  4. Good financial practices, including having the proper insurance and accounting practices.
  5. Excellent project management practices. Will they be on time?  Do they have good communication practices?  Will they fill out the proper paperwork?
  6. It’s an added plus if they are passionate about what they do.
  7. And are they fun?  Not a requirement, but sure makes it more pleasurable.

We prequalify all our subcontractors before considering bringing them onto our team.  This is one form we use to decide whether they qualify as someone we would hire.  We now have an excellent group of partners to bring on the team who have these traits.

We also practice what we preach and offer all these things to our clients.  Plus we back our reputation with a five year warranty.  We build unique stuff that often has cranky dos (what I call our mechanical interactives) that will have lots of public interaction.  We don’t have centuries of testing opportunities like your car company.  Therefore, occasionally we have to fix something that didn’t work as planned.  We do this on our dime.  Imagine how much it would cost you if your company charged you to fly across the country to fix what they built?  This could be a savings of tens of thousands of dollars.

What do you look for when hiring a service provider, contractor or designer?