1. Ask for referral from friends, neighbors, coworkers, relatives. The cheapest guy you could find may not be such a good deal after all. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you book your appointment either. Are they licensed, insured, are your employees bonded, do they drug test, do they run background checks? These things may add to the cost of a service call, but are well worth your safety. Ask for references. Look up the company on the internet to see if there are any negative commits about their track record.
2. Try not to be alone at all possible. Even if you have to bake cookies or pay the high school kid down street or ask a retired person to come over for a few hours. You can schedule more than one tradesman at the same time also.
3. Be on the phone when the serviceman arrives; go out front to greet him outside. Let him hear you tell “Male name real or fake” that ABC Service Co. just arrived and you will call him back in ten minutes. (You can stay on the phone the whole time the serviceman is at your home.)
4. Trust your instincts! If something just doesn’t add up. You get a feeling of impending doom. Do not let that man in your home. Go back in your house lock the door. Call his office and say something urgent has come up and you are going to have to cancel. All reputable companies drive marked trucks, and should wear some type of uniform. It is ok to ask to see some ID.
5. Landscapers, pool men, exterior painters etc. do not need to come in your house for any reason. It is okay if they ask to use the bathroom to say, “I’m sorry I just don’t feel comfortable with that”. They should take rest and bathroom breaks during the day and go to fast food restaurants or public parks.
6. Open all the blinds, windows, or curtains so neighbors can see in.
7. Never say that you are home alone. Leave a TV on in a back room or bedroom. You could even go in there and pretend to have a conversation.
8. Keep your dog in the house with you. You may even want to keep him on a leash right with you. Some people are afraid of dogs. A barking or growling dog might make someone think twice.
9. I know a lady who keeps pepper spray in her sweater pocket.
10. Dress appropriate. Do not answer the door in your night gown, or swim suit, or sexy new outfit or high heels you just bought. Save that stuff for the pool or date night. Don’t take a chance you are giving the wrong impression.
I have extensively remodeled two houses. I have never been robbed or attacked. I have felt uncomfortable and sometimes a little scared to be home alone with a strange man in my house. 99.9% of contractors and service professionals are hard working, honest family men and women. I by no means want to give the impression otherwise or degrade their professions. These are tips I have come up with during my remodeling experiences to help relieve my anxiety. I hope they are of help to other women like me.
Pictures courtsey of Google Images.