Should I Trust a Serviceman Coming Into My Home?

ByMarc Silberberg


It’s common for homeowners to hire professionals to maintain items in their home like HVAC systems, appliances, or even just basic house cleaning. Upon hiring your choice of specialists, they will need access to your home and if it’s their first visit most homeowners kind of cross their fingers and hope for the best. This is in regard to the actual service that they are doing and most importantly to you and your family’s safety. Just hiring someone from Facebook claiming to be an air duct cleaning professional can be quite risky not just for your ducts and vents but also for the home’s occupants. No one knows what to expect and there is no reason why you should not be 100% certain that all is good in regard to the provider’s service and the technician who is doing the work. But how should a homeowner know if they can trust the serviceman that is scheduled to come into their home?

Using a Trusted Service Provider

One of the main mistakes people make when looking to hire a technician to fix something in their home is the individual’s or company’s reputation. The best way to determine if you can trust them or not is by analyzing their online reviews. You should get a general feel from the customers that used the service who are generally satisfied and have only minor complaints. It could happen that even a reputable company can have a negative review which is why you should look through all of them. Sometimes a disgruntled employee will leave a bad review after separating from a company. A company’s online reputation is the first thing to analyze prior to allowing them through your front door.

Certifications Mean Good Reputations

Every service provider that comes through your door should have some type of reputable certification. Homeowners that educate themselves on service certifications will know what exactly to look out for. Take for example air vents and duct cleaning. When looking to hire a local air duct cleaning specialist it’s important to check that they are certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association or better known as NADCA. HVAC installers in New Jersey should have a Master HVACR License prior to doing any work or maintenance in your home. For plumbers there are two types of licenses in New Jersey, Journeyman Plumber and Master Plumber. The first is for plumbers that are in the middle of apprenticeships and the second is a complete certification to work as a plumber in the state of NJ. According to Plumber Training Center here is how they define the latter:

“Master Plumber: This means a person who is approved in accordance with this supplementary law and amendatory has the training, qualifications, technical knowledge and experience required to plan, design, install and repair plumbing equipment and devices and supervise others in the performance of the work in accordance with the rules, regulations and standards set by the State Board.” Plumber Training Center

Once homeowners have identified a serviceman’s reputation and certification they can now feel a bit more comfortable to let them into their home. Unfortunately nothing is foolproof and if you ever feel uncomfortable about the technician’s personality or some other red flag feel free to reserve your right to not allow them to service your home. There is something called a sixth sense and if something does not feel right you should go with your natural intuition. 

A Non Licensed But Reputable Serviceman 

The challenge for skilled trade workers to become licensed has intensified with the latest worker shortage. Contractors, HVAC workers, electricians, plumbers, and other skilled workers are in high demand and have little inspiration to sit in class and earn a degree. These individuals can have worked for many years as an apprentice but are still without a certification or license. One such individual has been a plumber for over three years and is happily married with a wife and three children. There is simply no way he can afford a degree when he is just trying to put food on the table for his family. With the cost of living on the rise these tradesmen are simply opting out of becoming licensed. So what are homeowners to do when a reputable repairman comes to fix something in their house but just does not have a license or certification?

Let us first put things into perspective prior to you making any decision of which workman you allow into your home. This is to get what you need fixed and if you know someone that can do it who is trustworthy there should be little concern about giving them access to your home. If there is an electrician or repairman in the neighborhood that everyone uses it’s quite safe to say that you and your family’s security will not be at risk.  When you are not familiar with the person who is coming to service your home, then you should hire someone with a license or certification. You might need to wait a few days or so to get the earliest appointment but at least there is some credibility that signals trust in the man or woman coming to service your home.

Having a Home Service During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Another issue that homeowners have to deal with is the issue of gaining exposure to someone who is carrying the COVID-19 virus. It’s not just this virus that people have to be concerned with but it’s pretty much any virus or disease that can get a person sick. True you would like your heating and cooling system to be fixed but who says that you need to get sick from the technician?

It’s a hard decision to make but we are often faced with similar decisions on a daily basis like “Can I make the left turn before that car comes?” or “Should I go check to see if my elderly father is all right?”?. Each day we are faced with decisions that involve our own and our families’ security. Just remaining stagnant in life won’t get us anywhere and often makes us depressed. Human beings need to take risks otherwise we would never grow as individuals. What we can do is make sure we maintain a safe distance from the workers and ask them if it’s all right if we ask them to wear a mask. In most cases they would want to please you as they are also uncertain about going into your home. Protect yourself to the best of your ability but don’t put yourself into a box and not allow anyone into your home unless of course there’s someone with a compromised immune system. 

Protecting Seniors Who Are Unable To Do Online Vetting

The challenge is for seniors or those that are not equipped with vetting out someone online. They are the ones that are at the greatest risk for getting duped into a home service or repair that is a fraud. According to the FBI millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud every year. When it comes to a home or appliance repair, elder fraud is a serious risk that caregivers or family members need to look out for and should do the vetting for them. Once an appointment is confirmed with a reputable service technician, family members should see that they greet the serviceman at the door. It will give the elderly who occupy the home a sense of security and an awareness to the technician that there is oversight and someone watching. It’s always good to have someone around the home to make sure that they don’t get too comfortable. If you can’t stick around, just make sure they know that you will be back soon to check in on them. 

Final Words

Never let anyone into your home who you don’t trust, even if it means getting a home service appointment a few days later. When looking for a plumber, electrician, air duct cleaner, or any other tradesmen, see to it that they are licensed or certified. Keep in mind that in today’s tradesmen shortage you might need to hire someone who is not licensed. If that is the case then you need to rely on what your neighbors are saying and what’s this individual’s personal reputation. Unfortunately there is little inspiration for hard working laborers to spend money and time to sit in school when they have to bread on the table to feed their family.

When the elderly are in need of having something fixed or maintained in their home, see to it that family members or caregivers approve the hire. Elder fraud is on the rise and you do not want your parent or grandparent to be just another victim of a fraudulent service. This is especially true in the air duct cleaning industry as the homeowner never really sees what’s going on in the ducts and vents. When confirming the hire, be around and make sure they sense your presence. Hopefully all will go well with the service but you should feel comfortable with whoever comes through the door of your home. 

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