When it comes to home repairs or home improvements, many people find themselves at a loss because they are either unable to complete the needed repairs or they simply do not have the time. In either situation, the best thing to do is to hire a professional contractor. But, what qualities should one look for in a contractor and how can you be sure that he/she will be the best person for the job? These are common questions and should be answered prior to hiring a professional contractor.
Below are 9 tips that will help guide you through the process of selecting the best man, or woman, for the job.
1) Before hiring a contractor, find out how long they have been in business. It’s best to look for an established company and make sure to check out their reputation with the local Better Business Bureau for any outstanding or unresolved complaints.
2) Always make sure that a contractor is licensed to work in the state in which the work is to be done. The best way to find out about your state’s licensing procedure is to contact your local building department and/or consumer protection agency. If your state requires that a contractor be licensed, always ask to see a contractor’s license prior to hiring him/her for the job.
3) When considering potential contractors, ask for a list of recently completed projects that are similar to the one you are in need of help with. Hiring a contractor that is experienced in projects similar to yours will help to ensure that all goes smoothly and that the job will be done correctly.
4) Be sure to ask your contractor, prior to the commencement of work, whether or not the job will require any type of permit. All permits must be obtained before the actual work begins, when required, or the homeowner may face a fine. It is best to discuss who will be responsible for obtaining permits, either you or the contractor, in the beginning.
5) Always ask for the name of the individual who will be in charge of the project, often called a supervisor, and the names of those who will be working on the construction crew.
6) Once you are familiar with the supervisor, ask him/her about their crew. You will need to know whether or not they are trustworthy and make the decision as to whether you want them working on/in your home. Will they need keys? If so, you need to know that they are honest and can be trusted near your family and/or children.
7) Every professional contractor should carry a certain amount of insurance coverage, including personal liability, property damage and worker’s compensation. You will need to request copies of all insurance certificates and confirm that they are current before work begins. Do not do business with a contractor who cannot provide this documentation as this may result in your being held liable for any injuries and/or damages that occur during the project.
8) Always check with the contractor’s references before deciding to hire him/her for your project. This is important for all of the obvious reasons and will give you an idea as to their work ethics and end results.
9) When you and your contractor come to an agreement on payment terms, get everything in writing and have the agreement signed and notarized. All parties involved should have a copy of the agreement for future reference.