Finding a Home Improvement Contractor

Are you looking to remodel your bathroom? Maybe you want to add a family room or build a whole house. Whatever the case may be, one of the most important parts of any of these jobs is to hire a contractor who is not only experienced, but can be trusted and is reliable.

The contractor you hire should be someone you’re comfortable with, as you and they will spend a great deal of time talking about what work you want done. To find the right contractor, you’ll need to take your time searching: get recommendations, contact your local home builders association or ask around at your local home improvement store to compile an initial list of candidates.

Before the work begins…

Once you’ve assembled a list of contractors, you should do some research before you schedule any interviews. When you make the calls, have a clear vision of what you want your project to look like. It will be difficult to find someone willing to do the job if you don’t know what you want or if you can’t explain it.

Here are some things to look for in prospective contractors:

  • Check to see if they’re registered with the state contractors association.
  • Take a look at their online reputation by checking sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, etc. Contact the Better Business Bureau or local building department to see if any reports have been filed against any of the contractors on your list.
  • See how long they’ve been in business, and whether there are/were any actions filed against their bond.

The interview process…

  • Once the project’s scope has been established, you’ll need to start interviewing possible candidates. You should discuss several aspects, including:
  • References. Once you receive them, check them out. If you can, ask other homeowners if you can take a look at the work. Ask the contractor if you can visit a current site to see work in progress. Also, ask for references of suppliers they may work with. You can check out their payment records and find out if they are behind on any bills.
  • Insurance policy. Get a copy of it, and see what all is covered.
  • Performance bond. Ask the contractor to post it if the cost of the project is over $6,000.
  • Unforeseen circumstances. This means things like inconveniences, variables, bad weather and so forth. Come to a written agreement on how these will be addressed.
  • Site aspects. Evaluate all aspects of the job scope, including the following:
    • Product/material warranties
    • References
    • Time frames
    • Prices

    Get it all in writing and do not sign the document until you and the contractor agree on all aspects.