There are often situations where people have to come into your home. For example, you might have to hire a repair person to fix a major system like plumbing or HVAC. You could have to bring someone in to install the internet, build a piece of furniture, or renovate your home.
Having someone come to work in your home can be stressful from the perspective of the actual work being done and the standpoint of personal safety and the security of your home and belongings.
The following are a few things you can do to make it a safer experience and give yourself more peace of mind if you’re going to have someone in your home to do work.
Do Online Research
Before you hire a company, or an individual to do any work in your home, do some in-depth online research. You can ask for the name of the contractor or technician who will be working in your home if you’re hiring a bigger company. Then, you can do an online search for that person’s name to make sure no major red flags show up.
You can also check into the company itself as far as its reputation, quality of work, and customer reviews.
If the company is reluctant to give you the name of the person who will be doing work ahead of time, this is a red flag.
You can pretty easily check for basic criminal records, sex offender status, and other key things on someone before having them in their home. If you’re going to be home alone or you have kids at home, these are especially important things to look into.
When you’re hiring someone to do work in your home, if you can start with people that you’ve gotten personal recommendations for, that’s best. Ask neighbors, friends, and family if there’s anyone they’d suggest.
Whether or not you can find someone through personal recommendations, ask for references too, and follow through with checking them.
What If Someone Shows Up Unexpectedly?
In some cases, an individual posing as a contractor or repair person could show up at your door unexpectedly, trying to sell their services. People going door-to-door selling solar systems is common right now. If you don’t have an appointment, don’t let anyone into your home. If you want to learn more about what they’re offering, do so outside.
You should call the company the person says they’re representing to verify, and you don’t have to answer the door if you don’t want to.
There are situations and reports where criminals use door-to-door selling schemes to figure out which homes to target. If you feel like something is suspicious or off, you might call the police. You don’t have to call 911 unless the person is actually doing something that warrants it, but you can call the police non-emergency line to give them a report of suspicious activity. You should also talk to your neighbors.
What to Do When Someone Arrives For An Appointment
Once someone comes for an appointment that you’ve scheduled, ask to see their ID. It should match the person you’re expecting. Again, you can always call the company they work for directly if you need to verify anything.
It’s best to try and schedule appointments for times when you don’t have to be alone.
Maybe if you live alone, you can have a friend come over, or if you’re married, try to schedule an appointment when your spouse will be home.
When you let someone in, have them go ahead of you instead of letting them in behind you.
You also want to communicate with them so that both of you understand what the expectations are for their visit.
Someone working in your home should be able to tell you exactly where they’re going to do their work so that you don’t find them wandering around somewhere they don’t need to be.
Have a Plan
If someone’s going to come to your home, it’s always a good rule of thumb to try and have a plan for how you’ll escape if something happens. Think about all the rooms in your home and what your fastest route out might be.
Avoid Personal Conversations
You can be polite to someone working in your home without having personal conversations. You don’t need to get in-depth with anything beyond the scope of the work, and the repair person or contractor shouldn’t either. You shouldn’t give any information that indicates things like your usual schedule, where your work, or when you’ll be out of town.
Use Smart Locks
One option if you’re nervous about having people working in your home when you’d otherwise be there alone is to let them come in using a smart lock. You can connect a smart lock deadbolt to a phone app, so you can monitor everything happening without being there. You can unlock the door remotely at the scheduled time of the appointment, monitor the person as they’re working, and then lock the door when they’re finished.
Another piece of technology that can help you stay safe is a video doorbell, which lets you greet the contractor and confirm they are who they say they are before letting them in.
Put Valuables Away
Before any stranger comes to your home to do work, secure your valuables. Remember to do this if you have any prescription medications as well or if anyone in your family does.
Check Door and Window Locks When the Work is Complete
While it’s not necessarily a common situation, you do occasionally hear horror stories about people who have someone come into their home to do work, and then the supposed worker will leave a window or basement door unlocked. That would allow them to return later, or it could be an accident.
Once someone leaves your house, you should go through and make sure everything is securely locked. This is something that real estate agents often do following open houses for the same reasons.