Choosing Reliable and Qualified Home Improvement Contractors

Remodeling your home is a cumbersome and expensive project. The final outcome of your home improvement will rest on the home improvement contractor you choose to entrust the work to. There are certain points to keep in mind when you recruit a contractor for remodeling your home. Firstly they should be licensed and qualified for the projects they undertake.

They should be capable of effectively scheduling the project, organizing, planning and putting those plans into action, adhering to the given time frame. His skills will be reflected in the successful achievement of your project on the whole.

While in the process of choosing a contractor for redoing your home, ensure that you give the people you have short listed the same specifications and information so that your comparison will be against the same requirements.

There are plenty of home renovation centers and online sites that can help you find a good contractor with referrals, qualification and license. You could also talk to friends or relatives about people who have in the recent past completed similar projects for them. Check whether is a registered member of the local Better Business Bureau. Check if the contractor has any consumer cases pending against him at the Attorney General’s Office.

Make sure that the contractors are procuring quality materials for the work, because a contractor who gives you a low estimate may buy low quality material. Ascertain that everything is checked thoroughly.

When talking to probable contractors take ample time to let them know your requirements regarding the changes to be made, and go over every minute detail with him carefully. A professional home improvement contractor must have the ability to advise you and offer helpful suggestions regarding the project. Also check whether he has the requisite workers’ compensation insurance and liability insurance covers.

Do not be fooled by people posing to be good home improvement contractors. Check certifications and licenses and permits, because in this day and age you can be easily cheated if you do not take the necessary precautions.

Home Improvement Contractors – How to Make Informed Hiring Decisions

When we talk of home improvement contractors we are referring to people qualified to undertake the smaller tasks, like installing new flooring, cabinets and windows or maybe revamping the landscaping. They are not to be confused with general contractors who undertake the bigger jobs like adding on rooms or remodeling an existing property. The reason I stress the difference is because many people tend to hire a general contractor when a home improvement one will do well enough. Knowing the difference can be a money saver!

In order to avoid any confusion over when to hire home improvement contractors and when to hire general contractors, follow this simple rule of thumb: if your job is estimated to take over a week to complete; if the job requires several pros to complete and if your job will require application for a permit(s) then hire a general contractor. Simple once you know how! Don’t forget to use the word residential, that way you don’t waste time dealing with commercial or industrial specialists first before you find the right person.

What is important is that you find the right home improvement contractors who will do the job honestly and not cheat you. How do you go about finding them is the question and we have put together some guidelines to help you.

Recommendations are good: friends, family and the local registry where the home improvement contractors are registered for your area. Even the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; all of these are good starting points. You could even try the big hardware stores and the local lumberyard, they will be sure to recommend people who pay their bills on time indicating that they are trustworthy.

Screening: once you have your list in place, telephone them to find out whether they will undertake your job, not all of them take on small jobs and some of them may not be able to handle the bigger ones. Ask about previous clients who will give them a reference, what sort of projects they have on hand at the present time, are they bonded and insured, the subcontractors they work with who will provide testimony as to their payment history. The answers you get will tell you whether the contractor is available, efficient enough to handle your project and reliable enough to complete it successfully.

Meeting: once you have shortlisted 2-3 home improvement contractors have a face to face meeting and take a look at their paperwork. A meeting will help you assess the individual you may be dealing with. Does the manner they employ put you at ease? Are you able to communicate comfortably?

Investigate: after the meetings, you must have mentally selected one person that you jelled with out of all the home improvement contractors you met. Be wise and investigate choices one and two thoroughly. Check out references with clients and sub-contractors, check the state’s consumer protection agency and local Better Business Bureau for disputes; check out the actual sites where the home improvement contractors are presently working.

Then move on to getting bids, setting payment schedules and above all put everything you agree on in writing.

Use the guidelines to select home improvement contractors who will do you proud!

Top Ten Standards to Look For a Home Improvement Contractor

Finding a quality home improvement contractor is not always easy. Anybody can sell you on something that sounds great, but how can you know if you’re really dealing with a quality company? Home improvement companies come in all varieties, from shysters to newbies to companies that have been in business for decades. These ten tips will help you pick out the best fit for you no matter what kind of company, from a replacement window contractor to a roofer, you may need.

1) Does the company offer free estimates?

Never go with a company that doesn’t value a relationship with you enough to do a free estimate. When you pick a company you’ll be spending quite a bit of money with them, so they should be willing to invest a bit of time in you.

2) Does the company offer an honest estimate? Is it detailed?

Many people don’t know that there’s a difference between an estimate and a bid. A bid is a legally binding statement, while an estimate is not. Some unscrupulous companies will pitch a too-low estimate to sell to you then and then hit you on the back end with “fees” they tacked on. If you get detailed, realistic prices and time frames, you increase the odds that it’s an honest estimate. In addition, the detailed estimate gives you legal recourse if the company does work you didn’t authorize.

3) What kind of customer guarantee does the home improvement company give?

How long do you have to report problems? What kind of certification can a given home improvement contractor give you on his or her workers? What kind and quality of materials do they use? You should be asking these questions in the initial meeting and get it in writing on any contract. If the answers are vague or deceptive, run.

4) How willing is the company to work with your schedule?

Of course, you don’t necessarily want people in your home you don’t know. However, some home improvement jobs can take several days or even a couple of weeks? If the job is only on the outside, say you’re getting a roof replaced, you don’t necessarily have to be there. However, if entering your home is required, are they willing to work with your schedule?

5) Is the contractor insured, and what protection do you get out of it? Do you have any liability?

Let’s say you’re having your roof fixed and a worker falls off into your bushes, breaking his or her arm. Who’s responsible for taking that worker to the hospital, who’s responsible for paying the bill, and who ultimately is liable for what? Any decent company is insured and does not hold you liable for accidents common in the line of work. Get all liability spelled out in the contract.

6) Is the contractor truly knowledgeable in the area you want improved?

If you’re wanting energy-efficient windows replaced then a “general contractor” who’s done roofing for fifteen years probably is not the right contractor for you. Make sure the home improvement contractor you pick has plenty of in-depth detailed experience with the specific improvements you’re having done.

7) Does the company belong to the local Better Business Bureau?

BBB seals don’t always mean a lot on the Internet, but they still pull their weight locally. If, for instance, you live in Cincinnati, Ohio and you want to know a contractor’s worth, the contractor that’s part of the local Better Business Bureau has been around for years and has a reputation to maintain, while one who isn’t may be a fly-by-night company.

8) Does the company offer financing? If so, is it legitimate?

Some companies are large enough to be able to offer their own financing. Others don’t want to deal with the headache of an entire finance department. If contractor-provided financing is important to you, be clear on that when first talking to contractors. If one offers you financing, check it out thoroughly. Are they doing it in house? Do they have an arrangement with a bank? Do they charge a reasonable interest rate or too high? When do payments start? Any financing is, at heart, the extension of a line of credit. If the company isn’t doing the same checks as a credit card company, look twice.

9) Does the contractor have offices you can visit?

Some contractors are one-person specialist affairs and may even work out of a home office, while others are larger companies with their own offices. No matter what kind or size of contractor you’re dealing with, you should be able to visit an office. You’re not going to get home improvement from a company across the country, you’re going to get it locally. Therefore, their physical offices should be accessible and professional. If you can’t visit their office the company could easily be a fly-by-night operation to take your deposit and disappear.

10) Can you get references you can look up and call on your own? Would any references be willing to have you visit to see examples of the home improvement company’s work?

This one should be a no-brainer, but all too often it’s a detail that gets overlooked in the furor of home improvement contracting. Can you see examples of their work? Can to talk to people they’ve done work for in the past? Just one reference doesn’t cut it, nor do three who you can’t find in the phone book. Anyone can pretend to be three different people, and it’s easy to get call forwarding for three different numbers.