When you want to make major changes in your home, you may be tempted to ask the guy down the road to get it done for you on a cheap rate. However, money must bring its value even in such home improvements. It will be wiser to hire the right contractor, if you want to really be successful in your home improvement endeavor. You will have fewer hassles such as, payment disputes, absence from work and weeding out scammers. You will also be satisfied at the work well done and according to your specifications. Of course, trying to find the right contractor can be tricky but if you are willing to do advance research and educating yourself, it will make things simpler for you and save you a lot of money. Here are some basic rules to follow in choosing the right contractor for the job.
Get your priority right
Before you start hiring a contractor, you need to assess exactly the kind of improvement which you want. This will help you in doing the research for the materials, fixtures and colors which can give the contractor an idea of how to go about his work. Just make sure that you note down everything so that it becomes easier for the contractor to refer.
Get proper recommendations
Try to get as many recommendations from family, coworkers and friends so you can get a fair idea. Since contractors pay to belong to any community, it will be a great idea to get in touch with your local organizations. They have all the information regarding validity of the contractors and will gladly assist you in finding the right contractor. You can even contact your own state contractor board. No matter what recommendation you take up, always choose the contractor who is an established member of the community.
Credentials of the contractor
Try to avoid contractors who solicit door to door and offering you discounts. They also insist only on cash payments and expect you to get the required building permits. Such contractors also expect you into making quick decision and offer you exaggerated guarantees. They also demand upfront payment even before the actual work starts. You need to find out as much you can about the contractor’s reputation and past history. You must not come up with any complaints against that particular contractor you want to hire. You can personally interview the contractor and inquire as to the length of training, experience and qualification he has. Always look for a contractor who specializes in the area of improvement that you are looking for. You will also need to get the contractor’s business license number so it can be confirmed with the licensing office in your area. You must hire a contractor who has active general liability insurance by confirming this with the insurance company. This is to safeguard your interest against any disastrous eventuality.
Interview at least three contractors
You should interview at least three contractors and pick the one which seem most suited for your needs. Ask written bids from all three contractors which should include the breakdown of works and the materials to be used. You can have a frank discussion with the contractors and find out the variation in price. A higher bid from a contractor will only mean that he is using better materials or paying professional such as plumbers for doing certain repairs. Choose the best and most creative bid and consider hiring the contractor.
Do all the necessary paper formalities
Once you decide to hire a particular contractor, get down to the necessary paper work which entails a written contract. This contract has to be signed by both party and will cover all formalities such as, the start and completion date, exact price, the specific work requirements and the warranty information. As far as payment is concerned, never shell out more than 25 to 33 percent of the total cost of the work. The final payment has to be cleared only at the time of completion of the work and always pay by check or credit card. This will safeguard you as the contractor cannot say that you did not make the payments.
Making the right choice
By selecting the right contractor, you can be assured of avoiding many hazards which may include frequent system breakdowns. Generally, shoddy work done by the wrong contractor will include improper installation, inefficient operation, and lack of timely service, high energy bills, theft, property damage and terrible building code infractions with penalties.
As long as you are well informed and do the required research before rushing into signing a contract, you will be able to get the best possible job out of a good contractor.