Effective Steps When Hiring Home Contractors

Many families are in the market to build a new home, add additional rooms for a growing family or need to install components including storm windows, doors or flooring materials. To be successful, it is important to hire the best home contractors to ensure that the improvement project is completed properly, professionally and on time.

For many households, their home is the family’s most valuable asset. Because of that, it is essential to be cautious when hiring anyone that performs work on it. Often times, families will turn to newspapers, magazines, online advertising, the Yellow Pages and word-of-mouth to seek out a contracting company. However, ads are not always the best indication of the level of quality performed by the contractor and their crew. It is often best to seek out the advice of trusted friends and family members that have had home improvement work done in the past.

In addition, it is essential to obtain at least three written estimates from a variety of reputable home contractors in the community. Any price variation between written bids should be discussed and explained thoroughly. Choosing the lowest bidder is not always the best option.

Hiring a Professional

Based on the complexity and size of the home improvement project, it is always best to hire the skills of a home improvement professional that specializes in that specific type of work. Homeowners can hire general contractors, specialty contractors, architect builders, design builders, and others that have expertise in a specific type of construction.

Usually, general contractors manage nearly every aspect of a complex project. This includes hiring and supervising every subcontractor, obtaining building permits, calling for inspections, and working directly with designers and architects.

Other times, it is best to hire specialty contractor such as those that install kitchen cabinets, lay flooring materials, or work on the exteriors of the home. Even designers have specialized areas, where they might do the majority of their work in designing bathrooms or kitchens.

What to Avoid

Homeowners can become victims of scams by supposed “contractors” that are operating outside the law. Usually there are specific commonalities among “contractors” that will do nearly anything to get your business. These often include individuals who:

• Solicit for business door-to-door
• Offer every homeowner a discount for referring other business
• Accepting only cash payments
• Is giving the homeowner break because of any materials left over from other jobs
• Has the homeowner obtain all necessary building permits
• Is giving a great discount because the specific project will be used as a “demonstration”
• Offers unrealistic guarantees
• Pressures the homeowner to make an immediate decision
• Requires that the entire job be paid for upfront
• Does not offer a local business number or provide a local address

Homeowners can usually protect themselves by understanding how long each contractor has been in business, if they have a well-established reputation in the community, and perform research to find their license online. Every estimate should have a completion date so that the homeowner understands the complexity of the job, and how long to expect before the entire project is complete.