Many people tend to make mistakes when they hire a contractor. Some will take the person with the biggest ad in the Yellow Pages. Others will just pick the first name in the list. Yet others take the cheapest option. In all of these cases, a little additional research would go a long way, and this article details what extra steps need to be taken.
Ask anyone you know who owns a home for a referral. Everyone has used an electrician, plumber, inspector or contractor at some point, if they own their own home. From a flooring installer to a bathroom renovator, you will find many people have great stories about work done on their residence. Make a list of the people they recommend to start you off.
Next, check with local organizations which deal with the renovation you wish to complete. For example, Mike Holmes’ website offers recommendations for contractors across Canada he believes in. Job-specific associations often have lists of people who are a member you can scan through. Lastly, check out Angie’s List for local workers and reviews on their work. Add these names to your list as well.
Check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints about the contractors on your list. You can visit BBB.org and enter their name to find out more. If they aren’t listed, or have unsatisfied complaints, cross them off your list. Companies which don’t join the BBB aren’t able to be verified, so they aren’t worth considering.
Call up each contractor on your list and ask if they have a license. Also ask about their professional association memberships, and if they have any certifications. Lastly, ask them about their insurance. If you do select a contractor from your list, be sure to ask for copies of proof of all that they tell you when they first visit your home.
Also ask for a list of references. You should be able to call these people and even see the work done. A list of references is only helpful if you actually contact the people on the list, after all. Do your due diligence and contact as many references as you can to be sure that the work done was up to standards, completed on time and priced within their budget.
Get everything in writing. From warranties to estimates, you should have documentation for all of the work done. If the company offers a guarantee on their work, get that in writing, too. Also get the contact information of the company including their physical address so you know where to find them if something happens after they are done.
With all of this information available to you, you should be ready to find a great contractor. Take your time, do your research and be sure to consider your choice carefully. If you choose correctly, not only will your renovation be done right, on time and on budget, but you will find a partner who can help you in the future with any home projects you need to complete.