Nine Tips for Hiring a Professional Contractor
With very few exceptions, just about every home, property, or business owner must hire a contractor at some point. Whether they’re expanding or remodeling specific rooms in the home, adding an addition to increase their living space, or perhaps there has been damage of some sort as a result of a storm, flood, fire, or other natural occurrence.
Whatever the case may be, there are always a few things to consider and check before hiring a contractor that include the following:
1. Make certain that the contractor is licensed and insured. Ask if they will provide you with a copy for proof. If a contractor is uninsured or not licensed, it is a serious red flag and you should continue searching for a qualified professional.
2. Before searching through all the contractors available in your area, check with you friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members to see if they have any references. Word of mouth is a great way to find a reliable and professional contractor.
3. Check their references and previous work to ensure the contractor delivers the high level of quality you require.
4. Does the contractor typically take on jobs of your size and scale? If the project is too large for the contractor, then continue your search. The problems that arise from a contractor who’s in over his head will multiply quickly.
5. When choosing a contractor, it’s best to call first to discuss availability, and then meet with three or four different to discuss the project in detail and get an estimate in writing. During and after the meeting or interview, it will be much easier to determine if the contractor is qualified, competitive in pricing, and is the type of person who communicates well with others throughout the course of the project.
6. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Protection Agency to see of the contractor has a history of complaints and unsatisfied customers.
7. To compare contractor’s estimates, request that the items be broken down to check the cost of materials, labor, and other expenses.
8. Don’t always believe that the lowest bid will be the best. This contractor could be cutting corners and may not deliver high quality materials and workmanship.
9. Make sure to put everything in writing. This includes payment schedules, materials, products to be used, start dates, and completion dates. Be sure to keep all receipts as well.
Drawing up a clear contract is not about mistrust, it’s about insuring a successful project completion that works well for everyone involved.