8 Steps To Prepare For A Stranger At Your Home
When a stranger is scheduled to come into your home, there are some precautions that you should consider to ensure your security during the visit and afterwards.
Since you don’t know that repairman or service worker or stranger, why would you trust your life or belongings to a complete stranger? While it may come across as a bit paranoid, common-sense precautions are smart in today’s world of the unknown.
Here’s how to prepare for and function during a visit involving a stranger (e.g. service visit)…
Isolate The Work Area
You presumably will know the area in which the work is to be done. The only areas where the worker(s) should be is the area from the door of the home to the room where the work is to be done. EVERY other room should be closed off by simply closing their doors. There is no reason for a stranger to see into your other rooms to discover information about you and to see your belongings.
Pepper Spray – Compact Size – 35 Bursts
Remove Valuables And Clues
Information can be discovered very quickly about a person by observing the clues that are around them. If you sterilize or depersonalize the work area environment, there will be less information for that stranger to discover. Consider removing pictures, valuables, and items which may reveal unwanted information about you or your family. For example, how many of you have a refrigerator with information, notes, or pictures stuck to the door? What if there was an invitation or calendar in plain sight which indicates an appointment when you will be out of the house? Get the idea?
Conceal or Hide Preps
For those who are preparedness-minded and may have inventory lying around, it might be prudent to conceal it. Why? Because unfortunately in today’s wacky world there are the majority who look upon being prepared as abnormal (crazy, but true).
When the worker/stranger arrives, Be confident when greeting at the door. Be in charge. This attitude will deter many of those with ulterior motives.
Don’t be a Victim – Be Confident
Avoid Vulnerable Positions
After the greet, direct the worker where to go by pointing and verbal commands. NEVER walk or lead the person to that place! This puts you into a very vulnerable position! ALWAYS walk behind them where you can see what they’re doing. This is a very common mistake that people make…
Have An Exit
Keep an exit or an ‘out’ between you and the worker. Avoid being cornered in a room with a stranger.
While the work is being done, do not become distracted with other things. Be aware of what’s going on and what the person is doing (within earshot, etc..) without being a pain “looking over their shoulder”.
Check For Problems
After the work has been done and the stranger has left, look around and discover if anything is out of place or missing. Check windows to see if they have been opened or unlocked.
While the likelihood may seem very small where you might encounter a bad situation with a service worker or stranger in your home, IT DOES HAPPEN, perhaps more than you hear about…
Taking precautions for your safety and your families safety and be smart. ;)
In addition to the above items I always remain with the person to:
1. Monitor the quality of work being done – no short cuts
2. I talk to the guess continuously to let the person know that I am Alert and Aware of the world around me, I project the attitude I am no fool
3. I ask the guest a lot of questions about themselves to make them a little uncomfortable, hesitant to return to my place
I few times after a repairman has finished their work I purposefully engaged them in a conversation (without them being aware of what I was doing) just to see how much they had been looking around while working. It is amazing how much they observe, they are not dumb!
I am fortunate to know just about all the repairmen in my small community, but if I lived in a big city, I would be concerned that a dishonest repairman might have an accomplice — someone to case or even enter my house while I was busy with the person doing the repairs.
Can you see all the other entrances to your house at the same time you are watching the repairman? If not, do you make sure that all entrances you can’t see are locked? Checking that all windows, etc. are locked after the repairman leaves is a good idea, but NOT just the rooms he has entered. All doors and windows should be checked. Perhaps a neighbor could keep an eye out while the repairman is inside. If you have a big dog, keep the dog inside with you, not in the back yard.
One other thing is DHS has asked service people to report anything they see to them. So firearms should be out of sight also
April 11, 2017 at 10:11 AM
One other thing is DHS has asked service people to report anything they see to them. So firearms should be out of sight also”….great, now the Maytag Man is a surveillance asset for .Gov…sigh…I miss America.
I grew up with a person who lived across the street from me. He worked for a local furniture store delivering furniture. He turned out to be the worst serial killer in my states history. He selected his victims by delivering furniture to homes. I would not say you are paranoid with this subject. They wrote a book about him called “To kill and kill again”.
Many years ago I was having a new roof installed and one of the workers asked to use the bathroom. Since the closest public bathroom was about 15 minutes away I said OK. I stayed in the house and gee- he was in there forever. I was making jokes to myself that maybe he needed to change his diet. Anyway, a few days later I opened my medicine cabinet to find that although the bottles were there they had all been emptied. Not that he got much of a haul but even the aspirin bottle was empty.
Now, as I have my house up for sale there are all sorts of people coming in.
I have had the odd one use the bathroom.
if I need to have someone in again, and don’t feel like emptying the medicine chest, maybe I should shove in a few dozen marbles. that way if they open it, it will be “heard”…mmm
Stand over them with an AR hanging off your sholder in a single point sling
While holding back your 210# rotty
I had a casual “friend” over at my new apartment who stole my purse long ago with $34 in it. I learned to never take my eye off anyone I don’t know very well in my home….And like Nailbanger suggests, I’ve had my German shepherds inside for years now who don’t like strangers when repairmen come just to keep them uncomfortable.
Sorry to say when Jehovah witnesses came, they loved my dogs and made a point to bring other witnesses just to get a glimpse of them barking in the picture window. Yep, they were that gorgeous but scary to most people.
As far as drugs in my bathroom medicine cabinet, I don’t keep any drugs of importance in them, and sure must have disappointed any would be drug addict unless he is a laxative freak and enjoys the runs.
#9 Ask the Repair Shop for name/s of those that will be coming to your house, inform them you will need a copy of their ‘licenses and insurance’ AND the latest copy of their ‘drug screening report’ before they are allowed into the home, NO EXCEPTIONS. If they refuse, find someone else.
#10 Inform the ‘Shop’ the ‘repair-man’ will need to sign a confidentiality release, with legal ramifications to breaking this release.
#11 meet the ‘repair’ person/s in the driveway and ask-for/confirm Identification. Have them sign the Con-Statement.
#12 Write down the names, making sure the ‘repair-man’ see you writing the names, the vehicle license plate# make and model, plus a brief description of the ‘repair-man’.
#13 Inform the ‘repair-man’ they will not be allowed into any part of the home, other than the area needing repair, without informing the owner prior to doing so, and the reasoning for this.
#14 Keep your phone close by.
#15 Do NOT believe the repairman when they say ‘this-that’ needs to be replaced, have them show you and prove the ‘item’ is indeed in need of replacement.
#16 Keep the ‘broken’ parts. Do not let them have them. It’s a decade old scam to replace parts that are good, driving up the prices.
#17 If they need to ‘go get parts’ inform them you will NOT pay for them driving around getting parts AND not to charge you for their ‘break’ time.
#18 Inform a friend or neighbor your having some repairs done, and you need to call (or stop by) them or they you every 1/2 hour for safety and to let the repair-man know you have people watching.
#19, Do NOT pay the repair-man, make arrangements with the ‘Shop’ for payment, whatever you DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT pay the repair-man in cash. Get a copy of the ‘bill or invoice’ review and sign it before the repair-man leaves.
#20 And this may be the most important, use your 6th sense, if something don’t ‘feel’ right, don’t let them into your home, or demand they leave, PERIOD, no questions asked, if they refuse, call 911 immediately and get out of the house.
I have been in the construction business for a very long time, it’s surprising what ya run into when doing ‘work’ in people’s homes, AND the disgusting way some people live.
Please remember the repair-man has a job to do, and being friendly is never a bad thing, just lay down the ‘rules’ beforehand and watch your back for those POS companies that use this sort of work for a front… Know the people you ask into the home. Do NOT trust anyone that wants to be paid up-front.
Just my 8¢, inflation ya know. We may have a WAR to pay for soon.
Good tips NRP,
I would also add find service workers who have proven good work
We have found good chimney, HVAC, and others by asking trusted other folks do you know of someone you can recommend…
And when you find a good service person, be kind and refer them to others who ask…
Thankful where we live we have (at least for our needs) really good service providers, many who are small local business owners…
To those sincere, honest, hard working home service workers whether construction, maintenance, repairs, and more… reading or posting today… THANK YOU!
I use a lot of labors in my job. Mostly commercial work. But labors are not the most honest employees and flit around from job to job. So far I have had good luck. Whenever we do work in a residential home, (and it’s always basement work). I always have a seasoned employee escort a new employee to and from a bathroom upstairs if there isn’t one in the basement. There is no reason any of my employees should be upstairs other than to use the bathroom. If the bathroom is on the second story as is the case on some townhouses nobody including myself is allowed to go upstairs. They must leave and use the bathroom at the maintenance shop. If the homeowner comes home and see’s you coming down the stairs from where their bedrooms are no explaining about using the bathroom will make them feel at ease. I worked at this one complex for over 25 years and heard the toilet running on the second floor. I called maintenance to see if i should push the flapper down and they said no they would send a maintenance man over. Now i have been to the head guys house and asked to go hunting on his property so it wasn’t a matter of trust. It’s just a good policy and i wasn’t offended one bit.
Had a friend for many years that stole a $97 gift card from Home Depot while I was in the bathroom. Don’t trust anybody with knowing about your prep activities.
Great points NRP. I had a solicitor come by and wanted to give me a quote for windows replacement. I’ve heard of the company he said he works for, but I asked the guy for company ID, an address, told him I wanted to see his driver’s license. Especially because he wanted to go into every room in my house (with windows.) He was so freaked out he just left! Worked great!
I have my own special way to deal with solicitors, unwanted guest…. Has to do with a 63 year old Fat guy, answering the door in his underwear, flip-flops, a broken open shotgun slung over the shoulder and holding a beer on his belly…. HAHAHA
“Hi y`all, what ya needing” usually does it every time… LOLOL
WAYYYY to much info rolwl
@ Antique Collector & ACDH
Posted Dilled Bean recipe over on last weeks Saturday.
Found that recipe, thanks NRP.
@NRP: Great, now I’m going to have Deliverance themed nightmares tonight. ?
Haha, that’s a good one. Years ago I was a realtor. I called to show a home , no answer. Listing said to go ahead and show even if no answer. So I took my clients there, knocked loudly still no answer. I unlocked the door and yelled “realtor”, no answer. Walked in to find a fat guy in his underwear vacuuming with headphones on. Didn’t sell the home.
I just follow ’em around and breathe down their necks for the duration of their work.
A pre dug hole and a bag of lime.
Just in case things don’t end well…
@ Bill Jenkins Horse
It was my understanding that a Pallet of Lime and a Back-Hoe were on the Preppers List of must haves???
NRP, well of course. But some folks here are new to the prepping life style. So they may only have a shovel and a half bag of lime. Baby steps for some but it’s a start…LOL!!
To be serious,it’s all about trust. I work in millionaire /billionaires homes. They get ripped off as well. It’s always on a referral. Being honest and discreet are the mainstay of any service oriented company. Lose it and your done. At least with the big boys.
I’ve had the Satellite guy here. A material delivery from lumber companies and propane tanks delivered and set up. That’s it and they are always escorted in and out.
When the satellite guy came the house had been sanitized before he arrived.
You have to be cautious. Trust but verify…
Bill Jenkins Horse & NRP
Hole with lime is dug on the property of the local bad guys place OR the neighbor that is a royal pain in the arse.
That works for me!
I have never hired a contractor or worker, for anything. Ever. It all gets done by me. It’s amazing how many skilled contractors like to make You Tube videos of all their skill and trade secrets.
Roofing – Plumbing – Electrical – Framing – Drywall – Sheds – Pergolas – Landscaping – Auto Repair – HVAC – all of it.
1. I can afford to live in a nicer town by saving money on contractors
2. I don’t need to worry about any precautions listed above.
You Tube + Lowe’s + eBay = Miracle of modern times.
I too am able to repair just about anything on my own. However hopefully the article will shed some light on security precautions and be helpful for others who are not so handy in all things ;)
I was in the HVAC sercice business for many, many years.
If you are gonna look over the tech”s shoulder to make sure he is doing
a good job— make damn sure you know what a good job is!
I have had folks question my work who had no clue what it was that I did!
I once went to a house on a service call– the only person home was a teenage girlwho said — go ahead, the unit is upstairs–
So in the master bedroom was an AK 47 leaning against the wall, a pistol on the nightstand.
I immediatly went back downstairs, where the girl was watching TV, and told her that I would not go upstairs until the guns were removed from the room.
I am a gun guy, but I will not be responsible for firearms.
The homeowner bears a lot of responsibility!
@Tango: If I was a guy, what would’ve bothered me more than the unsecured guns was the fact that there was a teenage girl alone in the house. I hate to sound cynical, but what if she told her parents when they got home that you touched her or otherwise behaved inappropriately?
I have run into that before and it’s somewhat common with both parents working. I will not work with a young girl or even some boys in the house alone. I have called the parents or maintenance and have them send somebody over or reschedule the work. Easy enough to come back. Never had anybody complain and most people actually appreciate the call.
Some of you sound like every repairman is a serial killer.
Know your contractor.
Ask for ID, call the company if you have questions.
Any good contractor will give you the faulty parts.
Have a repairman sign a confidentlialty release? Are you serious?
No one an carry every part needed. Sometimes a run for parts is necessary, and yes the customer pays for it.
People who make such ludicrus statements have NEVER done service work.
Service company’s are in business to do service work.
Get references,check with the BBB.
100% agree with your sane statement. Sounds like that other guy goes for the cheap coupon special flyer deals–you get what you pay for! Best advice is get a referral. When I ran my business I didn’t need to advertise as all my work was referral. If anyone dictated to me that nonsense they would be told where to go as I got in my truck and left.
I agree. Luckily I can use small town local repairmen, and they have all done excellent work at reasonable prices. They can not always predict what exactly is wrong by my description over the phone, so a parts run has been necessary.
Just take the gun off the table and put it in the drawer. Try to have more than one adult at home while the repairs are being made. Do keep the dogs away from the repairmen, and while I do engage in conversation about the item being repaired or their kids, I try not to pester them.
You all have lots of good comments. Here’s mine: For the last 40-some years, I have NEVER allowed anyone to come in and fix ANYTHING of mine. I’ve looked up, read up, and learned how to do anything I’d ever need done. I’ve never even allowed a mechanic to touch any of my many cars. I buy what I need to do the job, learn how to do it myself, or have a trusted friend do it or help me do it. Is this the hard way? You’d better believe it it! I get along great with my neighbors and always have, but NONE of them have ever been inside my home in the last 40 years. What they don’t know won’t hurt me.
Many places now stipulate that someone over 18 must be home.
What if the apartments hire the maintence? Do I have any rights?