When you are having any type of home improvement project done on your home it can be a little overwhelming. How do you know exactly which contractor to trust? How do you know you are going to like their work? Doing your homework before hiring a contractor is the best way to ensure you are happy with the end results. It’s important to be prepared for the contractor when he comes to give you your free estimate to complete your home improvement project.
Even before a contractor comes to your home to provide you with the estimate to complete your requested work you can do some homework on your own to determine if it’s worth even speaking with the contractor.
Do your Research Online
The internet is a powerful tool that can help you find just about anything you need to know about a prospective contractor. People love to talk about their experiences, especially bad experiences on the internet, so if there is something negative to be said about your prospective contractor, you’ll be able to find it just by doing a simple search online.
Aside from comments left by previous clients, you should also be able to find a reputable website for the contractor. A large majority of successful businesses today are successful as a result of their website, so if the contractor you are researching doesn’t have a website, it should give you second thoughts about utilizing him. The internet is such a valuable way to gain a new customer base that if a particular contractor doesn’t have a website, he might have something to hide.
Questions to ask the Contractor
Once you have determined that you are working with a reputable contractor as far as your research could tell you, then it’s important to ask your prospective contractor for some of the basic necessities that any contractor should have.
- First and foremost your contractor should be able to show you a valid certifications. With certifications, a contractor shows knowledge and experience in his field and you will have support if the work the contractor provides isn’t satisfactory by going to the contractor’s board.
- If you are using a local contractor, which is always recommended, he should be able to provide you with a list of local references. The contractor should readily supply you with a list of references that are okay with potential clients contacting them regarding their experience with the contractor.
- He should also be able to provide you with a portfolio, list or some other method of displaying his experience in the area in which you are requesting home improvement services. If a contractor is proud of his work, then he’ll have a way to display it proudly to potential clients.
Things to Obtain from the Contractor
Any reputable contractor will give you his estimate for the work you desire to be done in writing. Once the time comes to secure the contractor for your home improvement project, he should also provide you with a written contract once the terms are agreed upon.
Just as important as anything you could obtain from the contractor is the permits that you obtain from your city or county. When you obtain the proper permits for the work that you plan to have done on your home you are guaranteeing that the contractor you hire works according to the code of your city. The inspector for your city will visit your home during each phase of the project to ensure that the contractor is staying within the guidelines of the code.