“Selecting a Contractor For Aging In Place Renovations”

Contractors come in many descriptions from those who build the entire home or manage a major renovation of it to those who do a smaller, more specific task to make homes safer and more accessible


Renovations require someone to do the work

As much as some people might like to have home improvements or renovations done for their homes, many of them don’t get past the talking about it stage because they don’t ever engage a contractor or handyman to help them. Some of them don’t know where to begin looking.

Clients have always had a tricky time in selecting a contractor or handyman to help them with their aging in place renovations. Typically, there are several people to choose from in the marketplace at any given time, so how are they to know which ones are reputable or will do what they say? How do they know who they’ll be comfortable having inside their home with them?

All good questions.

Inviting strangers into your home

One of the trickiest aspects of home improvements for many people is having strangers come to their home and be inside their space with them. It’s a big deal having people unknown to you in your home with you but also watching them as they start demolishing, adding on, removing, and otherwise making very visible changes to your living space.

This can be very challenging and emotional for people so contractors need to be very aware of this challenge and take special measures to address it. For those unable or unwilling to do so, the client should keep looking for someone who is more attentive to their needs.

The virus has further complicated things

The issue of having strangers come into our homes is made more complex today with the coronavirus situation. How do we know that anyone coming into yes they and the people in their home will be safe from infection or if the people they hire will be able to complete the job successfully?

These are serious questions and large unknowns – especially given that many people who need the work done are elderly women living alone. They may not have access to websites or typical social media to check on the reputations of people they are considering. This means that they will rely heavily on word-of-mouth, family recommendations, or social sites such as Nextdoor. They may have children or neighbors who can go online for them and gain access to sites such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, Yelp, or Thryve.

The point is that they are going to be unable to do a lot of the investigation into companies on their own and will need to rely on their children or neighbors for recommendations. As to how well they might enjoy working with a company that they find this way, they are not going to know until they actually begin a project with them.

Having the CAPS designation is a big plus

A contractor who has a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) designation should have a stronger reputation with consumers than one who does not. Still, any contractor will need to prove themselves with the client. It’s just that the CAPS designation will provide a level of professional standing that should help the client to accept and adjust to them.

This translates well to the consumer who has a right to expect that anyone with these credentials has additional training and understanding of how to work effectively with them and their living space.

Ultimately, it’s the client’s decision

How the client finds a contractor (word-of-mouth, yellow pages, newspaper, billboard, online, or some other means) is the first step toward building a relationship and having work done that is desired and requested. Then, there is the engagement after some comfort level has been established.

There is no single way that a client is going to know about and locate someone to help them although they may have their preferred way such as asking for recommendations from family or neighbors. Still, it is their choice. We can’t do any work to help someone without being specifically invited into their home and committed to a scope of work.

As much as we are ready and willing to help people, and as much as we know that we can help someone, it is their decision. We need to help people feel comfortable in working with us and arriving at a decision to engage us to work with them.

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