When it comes to being a homeowner, one of the tasks you will often face is choosing a contractor for your home repairs or remodeling projects. Hiring the right contractor can mean the difference between quality work done in a timely manner, and unwanted emotional and financial stress.
Over the years, I have encountered many homeowners who hired the company or individual with the cheapest estimate, only to pay more in the end because the work was not done properly the first time. Often the cheapest estimate is that way for a reason. You may be dealing with an individual that is unlicensed, not certified in the field, doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t offer a warranty for the work performed. These are all huge red flags, but can go unnoticed if homeowners don’t know what questions to ask or what situations to be wary of. Below is a list of steps to follow to ensure that your contractor will get the job done right.
1. Choose an established contractor.
Choose a company that has built a reputation for quality work and ethical business practices.
2. Ask for references.
A reputable company will be happy to provide references.
3. Find a company or individual who can provide the specifics you’ll need.
A large project may benefit from a contractor who offers both building and design services.
4. Ensure that a company is licensed and will get the proper permits needed to do the work.
A licensed contractor is very important. They should always get the necessary permits needed in your city to perform work on your home.
5. Check industry memberships and certifications.
Such memberships show that the company adheres to prescribed industry standards, practices, professionalism and skill levels.
6. Verify insurance coverage and a drug-free workplace.
Ask to see the contractor’s insurance agent’s information in order to confirm coverage. The company should be insured for property damage, and provide a safe drug-free workplace.
7. Get everything in writing, including warranties.
Details regarding materials, terms, and dates should all be specified in the contract. Do not sign anything until you fully understand and agree to the contract terms. Get written warranties for labor, materials and coverage, as well as warranties from material manufacturers.
In the end, it is better to pay more for someone who has the proper credentials, has proven experience in the field, and uses the proper products and materials to resolve the problem permanently. The BetterBusiness Bureau, and other resources such as Angie’s List, are not bad places to start when looking for a professional, but true peace of mind comes from reviews and testimonials of happy, satisfied customers.