Finding a Reputable Contractor
Once you have decided to remodel or build a new home, you need to choose a contractor for the job. The right contractor will be vital to the success of your building project, so it’s important to make a good choice.
The best way to find a contractor is through a referral. If you have a friend or family member that has worked with a contractor that they would recommend, this may be an excellent way to find one. If the contractor completed the work for them on time and on budget, then hopefully you will get the same result.
Another way to find a contractor is by noticing their sign on a construction project. Although you certainly won't know as much about them as you would through a referral, you know that at least somebody hired them-so they could be worth investigating.
As a last resort, you can always look on the Internet or in your local phone book.
Once you have identified a contractor, there are a few things to check which can help you finalize your decision. First, find out if the company is a licensed contractor. Be aware that a business license does not qualify a person to be a contractor-a state issued contractor’s license is required. Second, check to see if the company carries comprehensive liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Insurance can protect you in the event of an accident on your property. If the contractor doesn't have insurance, you may be liable for all costs if a worker is injured on your property.
It’s likely that a contractor who ignores licenses and insurance may be cheaper than one who does. But spending a little more on an insured and licensed contractor is definitely worth it in the long run.
It can also help to find out how long the company has been in business. Obviously, the longer the better. Companies that have been in business for many years have not done it by ripping people off and doing lousy work (unless they’re extremely clever!) Just because a contractor is relatively new, however, doesn't necessarily mean they’re a bad choice.
Finally, always check references! The best contractors take pride in their work, and are more than happy to have a former client tell you how great they are.
When making your decision it’s important to keep in mind that the lowest bid is not always the best. You will be better off spending more and choosing a contractor who has a reputation for excellent workmanship and for standing behind their projects. Even if the job is small, you still want to make a good decision on the contractor.
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