Finding a reliable contractor for a home renovation project can be more difficult than the project itself. Choosing the right general contractor who can handle a variety of construction situations can be the difference between a successful home renovation and a complete disaster. Here are some helpful tips to help you find the right contractor who will get the job done professionally, on time and within budget.
Ask for References
While they may brag about their successful projects, a contractor’s reputation is a better gauge of their work quality. If they have a history of projects ending poorly, a couple of recent successful projects are irrelevant. Ask each contractor you are considering to hire for references from previous clients when you’re getting a quote. Then, follow up and contact each reference and ask how the process went and how satisfied they are with the work now.
Do Online Research
Check online review sites for personal experiences with the contractor. Angie’s List checks to ensure a reviewer has actually used a contractor and doesn’t allow anonymous reviews, so they are a good place to start. Google and Yelp also have reviews. Read each review carefully to determine if the contractor is a good fit for your project and will work well with you. Find out the contractor’s record on complaint resolution by checking their Better Business Bureau rating.
Look at Their Portfolio Carefully
Check out the contractor’s portfolio to get an idea of the work they’ve done. Do their projects look professionally completed with high-quality workmanship? Does their style mesh with the remodel you are planning for your kitchen or home?
Meet in Person
Don’t sign a contract over the phone or the internet. When you meet the contractor in person, you will get a much better feel for who they are, how professional they are and how well they communicate. Plus, you’ll be able to put them on the spot and ask them specific questions about your planned project and their business background. Some of the questions you should ask in person include:
- Is their company insured adequately? Make sure that they have workers’ compensation and general liability insurance policies in effect to cover any injuries on the job. Ask for copies of their insurance policies and keep them on file.
- How long has their company been in business? The length of time a contractor has been in business is an indication of their stability, ability and expertise.
- Are they in good standing with trade associations?
- Are they licensed? Cities, states and counties all have varying requirements regarding the licensing or credentials a contractor must obtain. As a homeowner, you’ll want to ensure that your potential contractor has the required certifications for their specific field. While they may have a business license that allows them to operate, that’s not the same as being a licensed or credentialed contractor.