Have you ever wanted hire a contractor for a home project and didn't know how to go about it? Hiring a stranger to work at your home can be scary and going to the phone book or online to look for a contractor may not be the way to go. These few tips can help ease the tension and get the work done right.
Ask Friends or Family. Ask people you know who have had work done in their home to recommend contractors that they have had good exprience with. If they have had a good experience and are willing to recommend the contractor that worked for them, chances are that contractor will work well for you. You may also want to think before hiring someone you are too familiar with as it could make for a difficult situation if a dispute were to arise. You need to be comfortable enough with the contractor you choose that you can express expectations and disagreements openly.
Do some research. If you aren't able to obtain references you may want to start by looking on the web, but be careful. Once you find a contractor you may be interested in using, look at the Better Business Bureau, your state attorney general’s office, and Angie’s List. These websites will show you complaints, lawsuits, and customer feedback (sometimes for a small fee). You shouldn't hire someone without checking that out.
Always get more than one bid for your work. Obtain more than one bid / quote for your project. Make certain that the work they're bidding on is identical so that you can do a proper price comparison. While price is a big concern, the quality of their should be even more important. A lower price isn't lower if you are dissatisfied with the work or need to have something re-done in the future. When getting bids, be sure to ask for referrals, pictures of previous jobs, and make sure they provide a warranty.
A good contractor will provide details. By example, if you are wanting to replace an exterior door, a quote could simply say “door replacement” with a dollar amount, or it could say door replacement, exterior trim, interior trim, insulation, and labor, each with its own price. The more details that are listed on a bid, the better you will know what you’re paying for - and, the clearer it should be for both parties on the scope of work to be done. Make sure the bid includes a time-frame as to when the work should be completed.
Certificate of insurance. Always insist on receiving a certificate of insurance showing that the contractor has both liability and workers compensation insurance. Don't accept the fact that the contractor does not carry workers compensation insurance because all workers are subcontractors. If truly subcontractors, if one of their employees are injured while working at your home or business, you can be held responsible for the cost of the employee's medical and work loss expenses!
Things to avoid. If you are asked to pay in cash, be skeptical. Cash payments can enable contractors to skirt around taxes, insurance and other things. If the work requires a permit, make sure the permit is pulled in the contractor's name rather than yours. The permit holder is the party that the community will generally hold responsible if something goes awry with the work or it doesn't meet code.
Nothing is foolproof, but doing a little homework before the project begins you can save on some of the stress that can occur with your home project.
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