If you are planning a home improvement or remodeling project, choosing the right home improvement contractor is very essential. This is because the success of your project will depend largely on proper planning on your part and the ability the contractor who is going to handle the project. Essentially, a knowledgeable contractor will do a god job at a reasonable cost.
There are a number of tips to help you choose the best home improvement contractors. They include the following:
The best way to go about this is to ask your friends and family. In addition, use social media sites, including face book, in order to expand your reach. However, it is important to know that not everybody who makes a personal referral had exactly the same type of project as yours, in terms of scope and budget. This means that you should leave room for adjustments.
Interview all the prospective contractors
Call the contractors that you have listed down in order to establish whether which one of them will be most appropriate for your project.
Ask the following questions to each of the prospective contractors:
- How long have you worked in this field?
- How many projects of similar nature have you completed successfully in the past year?
- Does your company carry workers’ compensation as well as insurance liability?
- Who will be the project supervisor?
- Does your company have permanent employees or subcontractors?
- Will you provide me with a list of references from the projects that you successfully completed?
- Can you provide me with a list of suppliers or business referrals?
- Are you a member of any professional organization?
Look for red flags
As you search for the best contractor, you need to look out for red flags. For instance, a company that is offering an extremely low bid may indicate that it is most probably cutting costs by using cheap labor or material.
Essentially, you are looking for a contractor who will give you the best deal, not necessarily the cheapest.
Other red flags you should look for include:
- A demand to be paid in cash only.
- A request for a large sum of money up front. For instance, if a contractor asks for about a third of the total project price, it may be indicative of cash flow problems in that particular company.
- A particular contractor does not have any physical address but only has a post office number.
- The contractor did some canvassing.
Do your selection
From all your calls, select two or three contractors. Go through your references again in order to ensure all the projects undertaken by the contractors you have selected were completed on time and did not exceed the set budget. In addition, seek to establish whether the quality of the work done and cleanup were satisfactory.
In addition, ensure that the selected contractors have been registered by your state’s consumer affairs or consumer protection agencies. These agencies are responsible for recording complaints. You can also check for past complaints from the Better Business Bureau.
After you are through with your background checks, make arrangements for a meeting with the qualified contractors. Discuss with them all the details concerning your project and get written estimates.
Finalize the contract
Get a written contract from the contractor who gave you the best deal. A formal contract is very necessary in case something goes wrong. It will protect you against any claims that may arise out of the contractor’s negligence or failure to pay his suppliers or workers.
The contractor should also give details on when to start and finish the project, and how payments will be made.
About the Author:
Roy Peters is a general contractor and owner of Renovate Marketing. His company helps homeowners remodel kitchens, bathrooms, basements and more with their certified list of home remodeling contractors. Renovate Marketing has 5 locations in the Ohio area, you can find them in Columbus, Dayton, Akron, Cleveland and Cincinnati.