Five Questions to Ask When Looking for a Home Improvement Contractor
One of your most expensive assets is your home, which means investing in it can be both costly and stressful.
So, when it comes to improving your home and getting the most value for your money, finding a contractor who can deliver quality products and great service in a reasonable timeframe is essential. Getting the work done right the first time can mean the difference between shelling out thousands of dollars or shelling out tens of thousands of dollars.
Here are five questions to ask when searching for a quality contractor:
#1 Are they established?
You will want to find a home improvement enterprise with at least five to 10 years of experience doing the type of work you want done in the area where you want it done. Established contractors will have a network of subcontractors and suppliers you can contact to ask questions about the contractor’s reliability and quality. For peace of mind, make sure your contractor is established
#2 Are they reputable?
Ask family and friends if they can recommend any good contractors, and then make it your business to find out about the organization’s reputation for satisfied–or unsatisfied–customers. One good way to gain insight into your contractor’s dependability and integrity is to ask for references. References can tell you if the work was completed on time and on budget.
#3 Are they candid?
A contractor who has no problem itemizing your bid will make it easier to comparison shop. Good contractors should have no problem with this request if they are confident in the quality of their work and are willing to answer questions about their bids. Itemization also makes it easier for you to cut project costs if necessary, weigh all your options, and compare apples to apples.
#4 Are they professional?
A professional contractor is an insured contractor. Any professional contractor will have personal liability, worker’s compensation protection, and property damage coverage. He or she also will voluntarily provide you with documentation demonstrating that the policies are in effect and up to date.
A professional contractor is also a licensed contractor. Licensed contractors can produce a wallet card proving they are licensed to do the type of work you want done. You can also look up a contractors license number online (typically found on a state website) to verify they are licensed for their trade.
A professional contractor will also provide you with a contract. Questions to think about when looking over the contract include:
How will change orders be handled?
A change order is a written authorization to make a change or addition to the project outlined in the original contract. Since these orders can change the project’s cost, scope and completion time, you will want to make sure the manner in which change orders are to be handled is clear.
What are the warranties?
The warranties of the contract should provide detailed information about the coverage of materials and workmanship, and who — the contractor, distributor, or manufacturer — is covering them.
#5 Are they user friendly
Finally, you need to work with an organization that is user-friendly. Did the contractor allow a payment schedule? Did the contractor actually listen to you and take detailed notes? Will the contractor take care of any necessary permits that may be required for your job? The cost of a job is important, but having a user-friendly and helpful contractor will save you a lot of headaches and money down the road — even if you have to spend a little bit extra for the peace of mind.