Beware the Home Improvement Contractor

Are you planning to replace the roof of your house, remodel a room, or do some other type of home improvement? Even if you’re a Do-It-Yourself kind of person, you may not have the time or effort available to do it yourself. So you’ll need a home improvement contractor. But choosing the right one is crucial, to ensure that the job gets done both properly and proficiently. Here are some tips to find the right contractor:

1. Look for contractors who are licensed, bonded, and insured.

This is one of the most important steps when searching for a home improvement contractor. Verify that the person has a valid license to perform such work. This will help to ensure that the person has the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to do the job correctly. It’s vital that the worker adhere to industry standards when performing work on your home.

Also, the contractor should be bonded. In case something goes wrong and the contractor doesn’t complete the work that the two of you (or you and his company) had agreed upon, this will help to ensure that you’re protected.

Finally, make sure that the home improvement contractor be insured. Accidents can even happen to the most careful of people, so it’s crucial that the worker is properly insured-to protect you and him.

2. Review reviews.

Of course, you should take these “reviews” with a grain of salt. Some reviews will be inflated because they were actually written about a particular improvement of a job -and BY that same company! On the other hand, you should also be cautious about reviews that are 100% negative. While this could be justified, some homeowners are tough to please and could never find a home improvement contractor that they’re fully satisfied with. So a better option is to review evaluations by completely unbiased organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau in the USA.

3. Get written estimates, contracts, and warranties.

Insist on getting written estimates, and never get verbal estimates either in person or over the phone. Verbal estimates could mysteriously change once the contractor starts the work.

After you choose a contractor to do the home improvement(s), make sure to get a written contract. It should include precisely all the work that the contractor will do, as well as a timeframe for its completion. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you’ve used your bifocals or magnifying glass to read all the fine print.

Also, only choose contractors that are willing to back up their work with a written warranty. Again, only such documents are legally binding. If something goes wrong, make sure that you’re not left high and dry with a shoddy home improvement job.

4. Get personal referrals.

It’s been said that personal referrals are the best ones. That’s because it’s highly unlikely that our friends, relatives, and colleagues would lead us astray. Find out if they’ve had similar work done to their homes, and whether there are any home improvement contractors or companies that they’d recommend. This will definitely help to narrow down your search, since you’ll want to avoid those people and companies that you get negative feedback about.

These tips can help to find the right contractor who can work to make your house an ever better one!

Home Improvement Contractors – How to Make Informed Hiring Decisions

When we talk of home improvement contractors we are referring to people qualified to undertake the smaller tasks, like installing new flooring, cabinets and windows or maybe revamping the landscaping. They are not to be confused with general contractors who undertake the bigger jobs like adding on rooms or remodeling an existing property. The reason I stress the difference is because many people tend to hire a general contractor when a home improvement one will do well enough. Knowing the difference can be a money saver!

In order to avoid any confusion over when to hire home improvement contractors and when to hire general contractors, follow this simple rule of thumb: if your job is estimated to take over a week to complete; if the job requires several pros to complete and if your job will require application for a permit(s) then hire a general contractor. Simple once you know how! Don’t forget to use the word residential, that way you don’t waste time dealing with commercial or industrial specialists first before you find the right person.

What is important is that you find the right home improvement contractors who will do the job honestly and not cheat you. How do you go about finding them is the question and we have put together some guidelines to help you.

Recommendations are good: friends, family and the local registry where the home improvement contractors are registered for your area. Even the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; all of these are good starting points. You could even try the big hardware stores and the local lumberyard, they will be sure to recommend people who pay their bills on time indicating that they are trustworthy.

Screening: once you have your list in place, telephone them to find out whether they will undertake your job, not all of them take on small jobs and some of them may not be able to handle the bigger ones. Ask about previous clients who will give them a reference, what sort of projects they have on hand at the present time, are they bonded and insured, the subcontractors they work with who will provide testimony as to their payment history. The answers you get will tell you whether the contractor is available, efficient enough to handle your project and reliable enough to complete it successfully.

Meeting: once you have shortlisted 2-3 home improvement contractors have a face to face meeting and take a look at their paperwork. A meeting will help you assess the individual you may be dealing with. Does the manner they employ put you at ease? Are you able to communicate comfortably?

Investigate: after the meetings, you must have mentally selected one person that you jelled with out of all the home improvement contractors you met. Be wise and investigate choices one and two thoroughly. Check out references with clients and sub-contractors, check the state’s consumer protection agency and local Better Business Bureau for disputes; check out the actual sites where the home improvement contractors are presently working.

Then move on to getting bids, setting payment schedules and above all put everything you agree on in writing.

Use the guidelines to select home improvement contractors who will do you proud!