Knowhow-Now Article

Helpful Hints For Working With A Home Contractor

When it's time to do some much-needed improvements to your home, it is likely that you will need the services of a home improvement contractor for at least some portions of the jobs. Things will go much more smoothly if you know how to choose the right person with the best qualifications, rather than just making your decision based on the lowest cost. Read on for some tips on what to look for and how to choose wisely.

The first step you can take in finding the best contractors is to ask for recommendations from family, friends or co-workers who have had similar jobs done for them. In addition to this, be sure to ask the contractor himself to provide you with a list of satisfied customers who he has done the same kind of work for. Make sure the referrals are for work that is specifically what you are having done, as contractors do tend to specialize in certain types of jobs, and will inevitably perform those tasks better. Ask for photographs, if available, of previous jobs. Be sure to call the referrals personally, rather than just rely on written letters from them.

Always get three quotes or bids from different contractors in your area. This will give you an idea of what a reasonable cost bid should be. Be wary of automatically going with the lowest bid, as this could signify that they will try to cut corners. Be sure that the quote specifies exactly what work will be performed, and what will happen if the bid goes over the agreed amount of money. You will want to know who is responsible for cost overruns, and what the process will be if there are disagreements. You will also want a time frame specified for when the work will be completed, with a reasonable clause for discounts if it goes too far beyond the agreed upon time frame.

Ask to see the contractor's license for performing work in your state. This can also include required licensing for special work such as electrical or handling of hazardous materials. If possible, get a photocopy of the license, and verify it with state agencies. This can usually be done online, at no cost to you. Make sure the license is current and there are no restrictions on it.

Verify that the contractor carries insurance that will cover anything that could go wrong. This could include insurance that covers any employees of his who may be working in your home. You do not want to be surprised with lawsuits of any workers claiming to have been injured while on your property. You may also want to check and see if the contractor is bonded.

Check with consumer reporting agencies, such as the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau. You are looking for any complaints from previous customers, and how the issue was resolved. Keep in mind that some homeowners may be a fault themselves, so have an open mind and ask the contractor upfront about the details of any conflicts.

By taking the time to do your homework, you will be much more likely to avoid disputes or conflicts. Use the tips here to ensure a favorable relationship with any contractor you employ.

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