Top Ten Tips to Select a Good Contractor for Your Home

Super Service Award Winner
December 19, 2012
2013 Area Schools Start Dates and Calendars
July 27, 2013
Show all

Top Ten Tips to Select a Good Contractor for Your Home

When it comes to home repairs or improvements, many people find themselves at a loss because they either lack the skills and expertise to complete home repairs personally, 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 you look for in a contractor, and how can you be sure that they will be the best person for the job? These are common questions and should be answered prior to hiring a professional contractor.

Below are 10 tips that will help guide you through the process of selecting the best man, or woman, for the job.

  1. EXPERIENCE – Before hiring a contractor, find out how long they have been in business. It’s best to look for a reputable, established company — be sure to check out their reputation with the local Better Business Bureau for any outstanding or unresolved complaints.
  2. ANGIE’S LISTAngie’s List has thousands of trusted reviews on local businesses, from dentists to lawn care. Angie’s List has about 2 million subscribers throughout the United States and Canada who post an average of about 40,000 reviews each month. The concept behind the website is to certify their data collection process by only allowing paid and registered subscribers to access the website to prevent anonymous or biased reviews. Contractors can respond to reviews, but they cannot control their ratings.
  3. STATE LICENSING – 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.
  4. RECENT PROJECTS 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.
  5. PERMITS – Be sure to ask your contractor whether or not the job will require any type of permit, before any work is started. 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.
  6. WHO’S IN CHARGE – 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.
  7. TRUSTWORTHY CREW – 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.
  8. INSURED – 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.
  9. CHECK REFERENCES – 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. Even better, check their online reputation with reviews on Google Plus, Yelp, and other review sites.
  10. WRITTEN CONTRACT – 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. Store your copy of the contract in a safe place for easy reference in the future. Remember, if it’s not in writing, it can’t be enforced.

Follow these ten steps to find a reputable, reliable contractor and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.