When you invite a contractor into your home, you are expecting that the person knows what he or she is doing and will fix your problem, not make it worse. So many times hiring an under qualified friend of a friend has led customers into a botched project that ends requiring them to spending more just to fix the work than it would have cost them to do it right the first time.
Knowing what to look for in a contractor and how to size him up can seem like an overwhelming task. Here are 6 easy steps to avoiding a project nightmare that any good contractor should be more than happy to accommodate.
1. Check Licensing and Insurance
Never hire a contractor unless you have first received a license number. Asking about insurance protects you in case a worker gets hurt on your property. Most contractors will add you to their insurance for free, some charge a nominal fee.
2. Ask to See Pictures of Completed Projects
Past work is oneA good contractor should be proud of his work and be excited to show you pictures from his portfolio.
3. Ask for References and Check Them Out
Happy partners and past customers of good contractors are happy to answer questions about a job well done. Dissatisfied customers are equally likely to want to share their experience and give you any red flags.
4. Know Your Subcontractors
A good general contractor is important for overseeing your entire project, but subcontractors do the lions share of the actual labor. A contractor should
5. Ask for a Written Quote (including removal of materials and cleanup)
A written quote clearly outlines what is and isn't included in the project. It provides a paper trail and protects both you and the contractor from gray areas and discrepancies in the future. Avoid a contractor who is not willing to give you a quote or estimate in writing.
6. Read the Contract Before You Sign It
You are investing thousands of dollars and weeks (if not months) of limited access to your property. Take the time to read over the entire contact and ask for clarification for anything that seems confusing to you.
Bonus: Trust Your Instincts
If a contractor cannot provide any of the above the information, is unwilling to answer your questions, or seems distrustful, keep looking for different one. You are investing your time, your money, and your home in this project, make sure your contractor is a qualified expert that makes you feel like a valued customer.