When you’re faced with having to hire a company for the first time, knowing the things to look for in good companies can mean the difference between hiring someone for now and finding an ally you can call upon for years to come. From hiring pest control to finding a fantastic caterer for your son’s wedding, ask these 5 questions to ensure you are working with a good company:
1. Do you have references?
Ask for references, and contact them, before you do anything else. A credible company will happily provide references to show that they want to do business with you. A company having references will tell you a few things: this company values the opinions of their customers; this company is concerned with more than their bottom line; this company relishes the opportunity to wow intelligent consumers who choose to do their hiring homework. If a company doesn’t have references at the ready, or worse, scoffs at the idea of providing references, consider it a red flag and move on.
2. How would you contribute?
After you’ve contacted a company and spoken to their references, explain what it is you’re looking for. At this point the company has the opportunity to describe all the wonderful things their business can do for you. Remember that you are doing the hiring. The company you want to work with is one that understands the potential value you bring as the consumer, and is therefore hungry to impress you. If you feel rushed through your questioning, if you feel like you are a number on their spreadsheet, if you feel the company is reassuring you rather than answering your questions, take heed (and perhaps ask them to explain why they think you should hire them). Any good company worth hiring will enjoy the opportunity to thrill you.
3. What does it cost?
The understanding that everyone has a budget is one of the most important things to look for in good companies. Ask the companies you are considering what their services cost. Ask the companies you are considering what you can get for the budget you have. Explaining your budgetary restrictions thoroughly to a reputable company will only ensure that you are getting as quality an experience you can for the money you are willing to spend. And, explaining your budget to a stellar company that ends up being out of your price range will give you the valuable opportunity to decide between taking the time and effort to expand your budget, or accepting its limits.
4. How long will it take?
Your time is precious, and yet, you want a job done right the first time. Finding that special balance between quick and amazing is important. A good company worth hiring will be able to give you a trustworthy assessment of the time it will take to complete your job properly and efficiently. Also, while situations may differ, the more experienced the company, the more likely it is that your approximate time frame is accurate. If you get push back when asking for a timetable, consider that a warning sign.
5. How do you handle dissatisfied customers?
This is the question few customers thinks about ahead of time. Of course you’re looking for the best possible outcome when hiring a company, but really, what is the harm in knowing a company’s policy on customer dissatisfaction? Or if it even has a policy? It would be telling to learn that a seemingly great company refuses to guarantee their work. Or, alternatively, a company may rise in your esteem if you knew they wouldn’t call a job finished unless you were completely satisfied. And, if you like what you hear when a prospective company answers this question, get it in writing!