There are plenty of contractors out there. But when it comes to your home renovation, you want to ensure that you’re working with one of the good guys. One of the best ways to find a contractor is to talk to family, friends, or colleagues to get recommendations. While those referrals are an easy way to narrow down your list, you’ll still want to do your due diligence to ensure you’re working with a reputable contractor. How can you identify a good contractor?
1. They’ve been in business for a while
If a contractor has been running their business for years, it’s likely that they’re good at what they do. The longer they’ve been active in the trade, the more experience they have – and the more they’ve worked with clients. Running a business if tough, so if they’re successful, there’s a good chance that’s because they’ve been able to keep their customers happy.
2. They’re licensed and insured
It’s important to verify that a contractor is licensed and insured according to the laws in your state. If a contractor is licensed, they should be able to provide their license number, which will allow you to check on the number of complaints filed or disciplinary actions taken against the business. Working with a contractor who has current complaints or actions taken against them within the past three years is not recommended. Don’t forget to ask to see a contractor’s insurance certificates as well. Only hire an insured contractor.
3. They’re well reviewed
It should be easy for a good contractor to provide you with references from at least five customers. When they do, be sure to actually take the time to follow up with those individuals on the phone to discuss the quality of their work. In addition, take a look to see if the contractor has been reviewed online as well. A quick Google search for “[COMPANY NAME] Reviews” is the perfect place to start. With so many outlets for references and reviews, it should be easy to get a sense of a contractor’s reputation before you decide to hire them.
4. They provide a complete estimate
How well a contractor creates an estimate can be a good indicator of the quality of their work. If everything looks like it’s just been thrown together, there’s a good chance that your renovation will be too. An estimate should include a detailed description of the scope of the work, a breakdown of costs (materials, labor, etc.), any assumptions, and the payment schedule. Final payment should not be required until all of the work is complete.
5. There are no surprises in the contract
A good contractor will provide you with a written contract before they begin work on your renovation project, and you’ll want to read the whole thing before signing off. When you review the contract, you shouldn’t find any surprises. Instead, the contract should contain everything that you discussed verbally, the payment schedule, scope of work, and any warranties or guarantees. Be sure to read all of the fine print, and remember, any surprises in the final contract are a red flag.
If you’ve decided to hire a contractor for your home renovation, you’ll want to be sure you’re working with one of the good guys. Take the time to review any potential candidates to help ensure that there are no surprises when it comes to your project. Want to read more about what to do before hiring a contractor? Click here.