I thought I’d post this because a client of mine was robbed recently after hiring someone off of Craiglist to do some work on her home.
First, for the record, let me just say that I love Craigslist – I post my listings on there, I buy things on there, and overall I’m big on online buying – my last 4 computers came from eBay.
However, there are some things to keep in mind that can help you have a safer experience when you hire from Craigslist.
- Make sure you get real, valid contact information from the person you hire.
My friend communicated with the guy she hired mainly by email. The phone number she got was for his ex-girlfriend’s beauty salon, and always went to voicemail.
- Ask for references.
Chances are if this person has sleazed out in the past he or she won’t have any, and won’t go to the trouble to try to create fake ones.
- Don’t let your guard down.
It’s amazing how quickly we can get used to people coming in and out of our homes, using our spare keys, etc. The person my friend hired caught on to the fact that she often left her back door open for one of her pets who has mobility problems.
- Watch for clues to bad behavior.
When my friend described this person to the police (after she came home to find her home robbed, electronics and personal items gone, including birthday packages full of clothes for her two-year old – can you imagine?) she told them he had really bad teeth. The police just nodded and said, “Oh, meth-mouth.”
Methamphetamine use rots people’s teeth – I think heroin does the same thing.
For the record, I have to point out that this person was never tracked down or convicted of committing this crime, so there’s always the chance he didn’t do it. But it did happen right after he was fired and he didn’t respond to emails about the robbery, so it doesn’t look good.
Anyway, I know there are plenty of good contractors on Craigslist, and also plenty of upstanding workers who have bad teeth. I just wanted to pass on to you some tips that would have helped prevent my client from being robbed. Hire carefully!