Finding a Home Improvement Contractor
If you’re selling your house and don’t have the tools, experience or time to undertake a home repair or renovation project on your own, you should hire a professional. Not just anyone is acceptable, however. In most states, homeowner complaints against contractors are some of the most common – if not the most common – types of consumer complaints at the state attorney general’s office.
But it’s true as well that there are several of high-quality and trustworthy contractors out there.
Finding a Contractor
There are three main methods of finding a contractor for a home improvement or repair project you may be planning:
You should talk to family, friends, and colleagues about good contractors. It’s a good way to obtain personal testimonials from people you trust. Also, keep an eye out for projects in your neighborhood that appear to be going well.
You can use a local directory to search for a contractor. Both yellow pages and white pages have basic listings, which indicate company names and phone numbers, and full-page advertisement, which include the company’s details and services.
To get online referrerals, check with trade organizations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, which issues certifications to contractors. You can also use free contractor referral services or professional directories where you can find local candidates. Of course, those consumer watchdog websites that feature contractor reviews and ratings are also very helpful.
Choosing a Contractor
No matter how you find prospects, ensure you get a lot of bids from different companies, and that you can make apples-to-apples comparisons. Understand the type of materials to be used, even if you need to ask a lot of questions. If the contractor won’t take the time to answer your questions, forget about them.
And now in terms of money, never go with a contractor for cost reasons exclusively. The lowest bidder can be a good choice, but the old saying about getting what pay for, particularly applies to the construction industry. Contractors who do great work are skilled and experienced, have expert subs, and pay insurance. There are definitely other costs that come along with operating a reputable contractor business, and those are just a few.
Finally, find a contractor you can actually get along with. You could be spending time with this contractor multiple times a day. You will be talking about money, your budget and what exactly you’d like to do with it. You could get into disagreements over some details, and you must be able to work through them. A contractor who has poor communication skills or just rubs you the wrong way is not the right choice for you, even if he clicked so well with a friend.