Whether it’s a minor project you don’t feel comfortable tackling, or a major renovation requiring building permits and specialized equipment, at some point you might find yourself needing to hire a home improvement contractor. But where do you begin? It’s not prudent to simply look through the yellow pages and hire the company with the biggest ad.
First, you’ll want to gather research on companies that specialize in the work you need performed. You can start by checking with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) office. Your local BBB offers free reports on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience, and other information such as whether there are any registered complaints for them.
There are also online services where (for a yearly fee) consumers can post their reviews of and experiences with contractors they’ve done business with. Some even allow the contractor to post a response to a review. Take these reviews with a grain of salt and don’t rely solely on an online review.
Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations. Chances are that homes in your neighborhood may have already gone through similar remodeling and improvement projects. And when you’ve narrowed down your list of contractors, ask them for at least five references as well as examples of their work.
A company you’re comfortable with.
It may sound odd, but you should actually like the people you are going to do business with. Are they personable, easy to talk to, fair and honest? If a problem should arise during the project, do you feel as if they would do the right thing to rectify it? In addition, look at their method of completing the project. This will vary depending on the type of job. Do they use the most current and appropriate tools for the job? Is their correspondence organized and professional? If design services are part of the job, are they using the latest computer technology?
Get it in writing.
Once you’ve decided on a contractor, make sure they provide you with a written contract and that the entire scope of the project is put in writing.
Doing your homework before you hire a home improvement contractor can ensure your project meets or exceeds your expectations.