How to Find a Quality Home Improvement Contractor
If you’re selling your house and don’t have the tools, experience or time to undertake a home repair or renovation project on your own, you should hire a professional. Not just anyone is acceptable, however. In most states, homeowner complaints against contractors are some of the most common – if not the most common – types of consumer complaints at the state attorney general’s office.
But it’s true as well that there are a lot of skilled and reliable contractors these days.
Finding a Contractor
There are three common ways to find a contractor for your home improvement or repair project:
You should talk to family, friends, and colleagues about good contractors. It’s an excellent way to obtain a personal testimonial from someone you trust. Keep an eye out for neighbors projects as well that seem to be doing well.
You can check out a local directory to find up a contractor. Yellow and white pages have both basic listings, with company names and phone numbers, to full-page ads that include more information about the companies, their contact details and services offered.
Professional organizations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, which issues certifications to contractors, are a great sources of online referrals. You can also use free contractor referral services or professional directories where you can find local candidates. Of course, those consumer watchdog websites that feature contractor reviews and ratings are also very helpful.
Picking a Right Contractor
Regardless of how you find prospects, make it a point to get a number of bids from various companies, and that you can compare them apples to apples. Know the kind of materials you have to use even if you have to be asking lots of questions. If the contractor won’t take the time to answer your questions, forget about them.
And now in terms of money, never go with a contractor for cost reasons exclusively. The lowest bidder can be a good choice, but the old saying about getting what pay for, particularly applies to the construction industry. High-quality contractors have exceptional skills and experience, work with expert subs, and buy insurance. Of course, these are but examples of the many costs that come along with running a reputable contractor business.
Finally, find a contractor you can actually get along with. You could be spending time with this contractor multiple times a day. You will be talking about money issues, your budget’s size and what you intend to do with it. You could get into disagreements over some details, and you must be able to work through them. A contractor with poor communication skills or someone who just rubs you the wrong way is not the right one for you, even if he was perfect for your neighbor.