While you may shudder at the thought of all the big men and women clomping through your home and leaving muddy footprints all over your carpeting from the soles of their dirty work boots, tradespeople are a necessary part of building and maintaining a home. So short of looking for a new house for sale every time the roof in your current home springs a leak, you'll just have to get comfortable with the idea of hiring tradespeople to do the work you can't around the house. Read on for some suggestions on hiring the right tradespeople for the job and dealing with them once they've arrived.
Many people aren't even aware of the many different kinds of tradespeople there are, but as long as you're going to be entering their activities into your accounting software, you might as well learn to tell them apart. A trade is defined in most people's minds as "the jobs dumb people who didn't get into college have to do" but the reality is tradespeople are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and have gone through a lot of training to get where they are. The first step to hiring a tradesperson is knowing which kind you need, so learn to separate your household problems into skill groups so you know who to call to fix them.
The most basic categories are: plumbing, welding, electrical, and carpentry, though each field does have some overlap with the others and specializations within it. For instance, within the "plumbing" category you might file everything that has to do with water or pipes, but if you have trouble with the ratios of your pool chemicals you wouldn't call a scientist, you would need to call pool specialists, such as Atlantispools.ca, for pool advice. However, if you were to call a plumber and explain the problem, he or she could probably recommend someone who can solve it for you if they can't.
It's important to remember that tradespeople are not all created equal, and that you should check out whoever you plan to hire before you hand over any money or invite them into your home. Some are like the difference between disposable and cloth diapers. Cheaper is not necessarily better. You don't want the hardwood floors of your condo ruined because the carpenter you hired can't control his nail gun, so check with other people you may know who have had similar contracting work done to see who you can trust. Also, don't be afraid to say "no" to Uncle Bob if he offers to do it for you unless you've seen and approve of his work. Not only could he ruin the job, but the resulting feud would cause family strain.
The best strategy for hiring tradespeople, whether you're a landlord having the wiring redone or a single mom having the toilet unblocked, is never to pay upfront or agree to work before they've given you an estimate. This way you can't be gouged after the fact or cheated out of work you've paid for but they didn't do. You can also check for reviews and references online from websites such as Angie's List.