There’s no doubt that there are people advertising on CraigsList that will work for cheap. There are hundreds of classified ads on the local CL from people offering services like painting, landscaping, handyman help, building websites, bookkeeping and a million other services.
The only problem with that is, well it’s CraigsList. By that I mean there is no vetting process or requirement of qualifications to place an ad on sites like CL. The problem with that is, these kinds of sites attract people that may be scammers, or really just aren’t qualified to do the services they are offering.
Now there are two ways to approach hiring a service providers off CraigsList:
Wrong way: You can browse or search ads in the relevant services category and reply to these ads blindly. Which opens you up to any person you reply to. Not smart.
Right way: Place an anonymous services wanted ad and let the providers that reply open themselves up to you instead. Isn’t that the way it should be? Why put yourself out there by replying to unknown people who place ads on CraigsList?
By following the tips below you can begin to protect yourself from scammers and unqualified service providers.
1. Place a services wanted ad in the appropriate section.
2. Use the anonymous email feature and do not put your real email address or your phone number anywhere in the ad.
3. Describe exactly what you are looking for and if applicable include a budget for your service needs.
4. Submit the ad and wait for replies.
By having the service providers reply to you, you are putting the shoe on the other foot which gives you the upper hand. Any professional service provider should reply with their contact information which should include their name or business name and phone numbers.
Now you can research them anonymously before you decide to reply back to them. Start by giving them a good Googleing. Search for the business name and person’s name. Search the phone number and even the email address. If there is something you need to know about that person or business, Google should find it for you. Make sure to search for each piece of information independently, this will give you the most thorough results.
Things you might find through researching
Reviews about the business or service provider, both good and bad. Any complaints or other business or personal associations should show up as well.
You might find other classified ads this person has posted. Things like stuff for sale ads and other things may or may not be an indicator of their character or financial situation.
Use the information you gather from your research to perform your own vetting process and narrow your list of who to respond back to. This will ensure you have the upper hand when hiring a service provider off CraigsList or any other classified website.
The bottom line is, do not tip your hand until you have to…
The inspiration for this post came from Cape Cod Home Improvement’s Consumer Guide to Hiring. If you need to hire someone on Cape Cod for home related services, check it out.