Enter the Stranger
Every one of us at some time, if we haven't already, will allow an unknown service provider to enter our homes. It could be an electrician, a plumber, a handyman, a sales person or a consultant. All providing services you need or have sought after. But, how do you know you can trust them?
They may have great reviews on Yelp or Google. They even may be recommended to you by a friend or relative. There just have been too many cases of theft or bodily harm as a result of the 'trusted stranger'. And, the elderly are not the only ones that can be taken in by a seemingly honest outsider so here are some ways to protect yourself, your home and your family.
First of all, don't merely rely on reviews or recommendations. Depending on the service try to make contact with the company they work for. Utility, insurance and real estate offices will be able to tell you who is coming to your home. If they don't know who contacted you then don't let them in.
If you are researching independent contractors like roofers or consultants check many alternative sources before having someone in to do an assessment. Ask to see if they are willing to meet with you outside the home or ask a friend or family member to be with you during that first introduction. It's also a good idea to have someone else in the home when the work is being done until trust is developed.
Ask for references. Get phone numbers for people who have used their services before. Listen to their stories and weigh their responses to your questions about professionalism and the representative's ability to meet deadlines.
Always ask for id and find out if they are insured. Ask how long they have been in business and where they live. Ask lots of questions and if you are not comfortable with their answers don't let them in. Once you open that door and let someone enter your home you become vulnerable.
Remember to put bills or personal documents out-of-sight while a stranger is in your home and never ever leave them alone in your home without you or another adult present.
Trust is earned and while it is important to be kind to others it is just as important to protect what you own and those you love. Save yourself from a potentially bad experience. There is nothing wrong about being sure.
It's as simple as that!