There are many things to consider when looking for a contractor to work on your home or business. Use these simple tips to find good local professionals.
Whether you are building a new extension or doing a home renovation, there are many things to consider. After finding the right location and drawing up plans, as well as finding a home improvement loan, choosing a good general contractor or independent contractor to do the work is the most important step.
What to Look for in a Contractor
The first thing to look for is a contractor with at least 10 years of experience in the work to be completed. References to past employers will help you make sure that their reputation is sound. Check those references as thoroughly as you can; if they have none or the references speak badly of their work, reject the contractor and seek out a new one.
Lack of experience does not necessarily mean they are bad, but the risks increase with using them; for critical work, consider waiting until you find one with the required experience.
A good contractor will already carry insurance and worker’s compensation and have a contractor license in the state they will be working in. Never work with an unlicensed contractor.
It is also an unfortunate by-product of today’s society that you should be watchful for signs of substance or alcohol abuse. If you suspect they are using drugs or will be drinking on the job, go with a different contractor. The risk is not worth any good work they may do.
A good contractor will normally provide guarantees on the work they do and will be happy to sign a contract for any work to be done. Write out any agreements between the two parties and sign them. Avoid any verbal agreements without witnesses.
For down payment purposes, 10 to 25% is normal. If the contractor demands more, it could be a sign that they will take the money and run. It is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. Thoroughly checking the background and references of the contractor will help reduce falling prey to this type of scam.
Referrals to Find a Good Contractor
If a friend or family member recommends a contractor, it can be taken as a good sign. However, a background check should still be done; this will help you make sure the contractor is a good fit for your work.
If you have no personal referrals and wish to find a good contractor, searching the yellow pages for one is not recommended. A call to the Better Business Bureau, local commerce commission or contractor’s union will be a better way to find a reputable contractor.
You are the Most Important Key to Finding a Good Contractor
No matter how good a contractor maybe, you are the most important thing to consider.
Meet the contractor in person before agreeing to have any work done and spend a few minutes getting to know them. If you find that you disagree on aspects of the job or do not get along for some reason, find a different contractor. If you use these tips, finding a good contractor to work on your home or business will be easy and comfortable, no matter the work that needs doing.