Improving, making major repairs on, and/or remodeling your home can be a large investment and can be a very stressful project to undertake. Choosing a good home contractor or remodeling service to work on your house is the most important decision you will make. There are a lot of contractors out there, and picking one can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are a lot of websites (like Homequote) that specialize in helping homeowners select the best home repair contractor for the job. This article will give you some good information on how to select the best one.
Prepare Yourself And Identify Candidates
Before you pick a home contractor, you need to sit down and plan out the work. Write down everything that you need to have done in as much detail as you can. Once you have this in hand, you should seek multiple bids for the work. Do not just go with the first contractor that sounds good. You should also look at the specific needs of your project. Select a contractor (preferably a local contractor) that specializes in the particular work that you need to have performed.
Do some research on each of the contractors or services that you are considering. What type of contact information do they have (permanent mailing address, e-mail address, personal phone number, fax number, cell phone, voicemail)? No address and just a personal cell number or e-mail can be a red flag. Have they been in the local area for a long time? Can you determine if they maintain solid relationships with contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.) or not? These can also be a positive or negative for a contractor.
Ensure the contractor is fully licensed, bonded, and insured. It is very important for them to be insured. Get copies of their insurance certificates. Does the contractor have any professional certifications, and/or are they a member of any trade organizations, such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), Certified Bath Designer (CBD), etc.? For how long? The longer, the better.
Leverage online resources to create a good list of local contractors. There are many great websites for this, such as Homequote, Angi, Thumbtack, Homeadvisor, and others. Home improvement experts from This Old House also have some good tips on how to select a good home contractor.
General Guidelines For Choosing The Best Contractor
Once you have done your initial research and have identified your short list of contractors, it is time to contact them directly. The first thing to do is call them and do phone interviews with each. Talk to them about your project and make a note of how they communicate. This is important because you will be spending a lot of time working with them. Get references and referrals.
You may also want to schedule an in-person meeting with your final candidates. This will help you get to know them even better and potentially meet the people that will actually do the work (their team and subcontractors).
Next, you will need to validate their references and talk to their referral and recommendation contacts. Assess whether they have a good reputation among customers and clients. What is their track record? It is also an excellent idea to examine some of their finished work.
Another thing to consider is the general availability of the contractor. If they are a good contractor, then they should be busy with work. This may affect your plans and the scheduling of your project.
Always get everything in writing. Do not verbally agree to anything, and make sure you have a detailed contract in place before any work is done. The contract should spell out a payment schedule, and you may include any special guidelines the contractor needs to follow when working in or around your home. Find out if there is a Mechanic’s Lien, and also determine what your responsibilities in the contract are.
Lastly, go with your gut. If you are uncomfortable with anything about the contractor or their subcontractors, then go with someone else! And definitely do not go with the lowest-priced contractor. Sometimes you get what you pay for; home repair is certainly one of those areas.