Print Posted By on 04/19/2017 in Category 1

Picking the Right Contractor Every Time

Picking the Right Contractor Every Time

When you are considering any home repair or remodeling picking a contractor is essential to getting the job done right.  There are hundreds of contractors in your area looking for work and many are very aggressive about getting it.  So how do you know if you are picking the right contractor?  There are many steps to picking a contractor, but it is more important to pick the right one, both in price and quality work.  

After determining the type of contractor you want you can then start choosing between a general contract and a sub-contractor.   

Documentation of Important Items 

Step #1 – Always make sure the contractor you are dealing with is fully licensed with local and state governments.  Your local area will make the determination if there is a license requirement but it is up to you to make sure the license is valid and up to date.  Always get a copy of the license so that you can visually see it rather than taking their word for it.  Many companies have only one licensed owner rather than licensed employees.  The best contractor will have all licensed employees rather than just minimum wage workers helping him out. So question,  as to whether all employees are licensed or just the owner or general contractor.

Step #2 – Along with making sure the contractor is licensed, make sure that they are fully insured and carry worker’s compensation.This is especially important if there are many people working on your home because if the contractor does not have insurance or workman’s compensation you could be held liable if any of the employees hurt themselves on your property.  They should also carry liability and property damage insurance and always make sure you have copies of all documentation of their insurance policies.  In addition, you should also check with your own insurance company to make sure you are aware of what your own insurance covers in case something happens.   

Narrowing Down Your Choices 

Step #3 – When you have chosen a few contractors that are fully insured and licensed it is then time to start choosing contractors based on work quality.  You should explain your project in detail and have the contractor draw up sketches or plans on how the project will be completed.  This is the best way to gauge not only the work that is going to be done but if they spend the time with you to get your idea right.  If they do not want to draw plans or come up with shoddy drawings then you need to walk away.  You want to pick a contractor who has experience with projects that you will have him do for you.   

Asking the Important Questions 

Step #4 - It is essential that you ask the important questions before you sign a contract in order to find the best contractor available to you.  You need to ask what work the contractor will do himself and what his employees with do.  You may also need to find out if it is a general contractor if he will be subbing any work out to others.  It is always best to hire a contractor whose own employees do all of the work with the exception of specialty work such as electrical or plumbing.  There is a lot less chance for miscommunication if you only have one person to deal with at least three-quarters of the time then if you have several people in which to deal with.  Most contractors do not have employees to cover every specialty item that they do so they will subcontract some of the work out. However, make sure it is as minimal as possible.   

Step #5 – Always ask for references.Many people are afraid to ask for references because they do not want to look too difficult to the contractor.  Without asking for local and recent references you are asking for trouble.  You also want a history of the contractor’s experience and businesses they may have worked with.  The best contractor is one that has ties to your immediate community because they often take more pride in their work because they know that if they mess up one home they will get a lot less business through word of mouth.  

When you check the references you should ask about the contractor’s work habits, how quickly he finished the job and whether or not it was done on time, as well as the quality of the results.  Finally, ask if they would hire the contractor again.  If the answers all fit with what you need then you may have found the right contractor.   

The Final Word in Finding the Right Contractor 

Step #6 – Choose a contractor that guarantees their work. Any reputable contractor will guarantee their work automatically and is written into their contract.  This means that if any mistakes are made on the job or something isn’t to your satisfaction that they will fix it or even re-do it at no extra charge to you.  It is the contractors who are not reputable that will not guarantee their work and leave you high and dry if something goes amiss.  They may even hold your work hostage if they are completely unethical. 

Finally, they may charge you extra money and blame the work on you even if they made the mistake.  So, get the guarantee in writing before starting any work, and never choose a contractor that does not 100% guarantee their own work or the work of their subcontractors.