Ready to begin a new project to improve your home? And looking for a contractor? Discover 10 must-know tips to choose the best home improvement contractor now. Did you know that the cost to remodel multiple rooms in your home is anywhere between $18,468- $75,372? That’s a lot of money! Clearly, if you’re going to be spending that much money on a remodel, you want to make sure you hire someone to do it who knows what they’re doing.
Without the right home improvement contractor, you could end up with a remodel that you don’t like. Or, even worse, you could end up with something that’s poorly constructed, causing you to have to spend even more money on repairs. But, finding the right home improvement contractor isn’t as easy as clicking the first name that shows up on Google. Due to the large amounts of money you’re going to be spending, you want to make sure you do your research when searching for a contractor.
So, what do you need to look for in a contractor? Check out this guide to learn the essential tips for finding a home improvement contractor.
1. Get Recommendations
You should start your search by getting recommendations from family members, friends, and co-workers. You can also check with the National Association of Remodeling Industry to find reputable contractors near you. Or, you can ask a building inspector for the names of local contractors in your area.
In general, you’ll want to find someone who has been in business for a while and who has experience in the type of projects you need to be done. Also, when asking for recommendations, be sure to ask people why specifically they recommend this person. By asking questions, it’ll be much easier to narrow down your top choices.
2. Avoid the Red Flags
Most home improvement contractors are professional and reputable. However, just like any other industry, there are home contractors out there who are looking to scam people. Here are some signs that a home improvement contractor isn’t legitimate:
- They solicit door to door
- They offer you discounts for bringing in other customers
- They “just happen” to have leftover materials from a previous job
- They ask you to get the required building permits
- They only accept cash payments
- They ask you to pay for everything upfront
- They suggest you borrow money from a lender whom the contractor is friends with
- They pressure you to hire them immediately
If you see any of these things occur, that’s a huge red flag, and you should look elsewhere for a contractor.
3. Interview Potential Contractors
Once you have a list of potential contractors, it’s time to start making some calls. For starters, you’ll want to ask the contractors if they’re available when you need them, can handle the scope of your project, and if they can provide you with references.
After these phone calls, you should meet with at least several contractors in your home. Meeting in-person is a big deal, as it can tell you how well a contractor communicates. When bringing contractors to your home, make sure to ask as many detailed questions as possible. If they’re knowledgeable and patient with their responses, then that tells you they’re the right person for the job. Here are some questions you should ask a contractor before hiring.
4. Get Written Bids
After seeing your home and inspecting the scope of your project, each contractor should be able to provide you with a written bid. This bid should include the breakdown of the work that will be done as well as the materials that will be needed. Also, don’t automatically choose the contractor with the lowest bid. Chances are, a contractor with a higher bid may be using better materials, which means you’ll end up saving money in the long run. A bid may also be higher because the contractor is paying a specialist, such as a plumber, to perform certain repairs.
As a general rule of thumb, you should throw out any bids that are significantly lower than others. This is a sign that the contractor plans to use cheap materials and cut corners. Also, one more thing to note: If a contractor offers you a bid over the phone without seeing your home, you shouldn’t hire them. A professional contractor knows they’ll need to see your home in order to determine price points. A bid over the phone is simply a desperate attempt to get you to sign with them right away.
5. Do a Background Check
After doing all of this, you’re extremely close to finding the right home improvement contractor for the job. However, there’s still a few things you need to do before you cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Here’s what else you need to do: Ask for the Contractor’s License and Registration
Almost all states require that home improvement contractors be licensed. If a license is required, make sure you ask for a copy of the contractor’s license. And, you should also call the local licensing board to verify that their license is legitimate.
Verify with the Better Business Bureau
Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the contractor you’re thinking about hiring. If there are, make sure to inquire about how they were resolved.
Contact References and Ask Questions
Make sure you contact references and ask the right questions. Ask if they were satisfied with the work done, if the contractor was responsive, how the contractor handled complaints, and if the workers were courteous.
Proof of Insurance
Your contractor needs to have both liability and worker’s comp insurance. Without these, you could end up paying the medical bills for any injuries incurred at your home.
Are You Ready to Hire a Home Improvement Contractor?
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into finding the right home improvement contractor. But, you’ll soon realize that all the research was worth it when you have a perfectly remodeled home.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out our blog for more home improvement tips and tricks.