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How Caregivers Can Protect Their Home, Castle, and Wallet

Gary Edward Barg

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, “Today’s Caregiver” Magazine and Caregiver.com

Now that we are in multiple months of sheltering-in-place, I’m sure some of our pets (talking about you, cats) would love it if we left them alone and some think this is the best thing since the invention of doggie treats (you know who you are). 

Another consequence for many of us is dealing with the effects of the extra wear and tear on our homes. This may involve the services of a contractor, and although most service providers are honest and upstanding, it pays to heed the following advice:

Dealing with contractors during COVID-19

  • Check ‘em out! If you don’t have a provider you have worked with before, ask friends and neighbors for suggestions. Check the Better Business Bureau and state websites for complaints against their license. Ask for references.
  • Learn what safety measures they and their staff will use when in your house. Masks, gloves, social distancing, etc. Pay attention to where they go in your home so you can disinfect after they are finished.
  • Make sure you and your family members are wearing masks and keep your distance while the workers are in your space.
  • Make sure they have a license. Many times, even if there is a license associated with the business, you never deal directly with the license holder. Make sure they know you will refer them to the proper authorities, if necessary.
  • Insist on a time and payment schedule, with penalties for missed commitments and rewards for beating the schedule with competent work.
  • Never give anyone cash. Get receipts and warranties when the work is done.
  • Do not pay in advance. If you are asked to pay too much before the work is done, worry.
  • Watch the paperwork. Re-total figures. Ask questions. Demand proof. It is your money, after all.
  • “If in doubt, don’t lay it out!” Contact an attorney if you feel that someone is taking advantage of you.
  • Trust yourself. Don’t settle for answers that don’t ring true.

Now that you’ve passed Contractor 101, may you never have to take the final exam.

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