Spring is finally here; to homeowners all over the country, traditionally, this has been the time to begin getting on with that home-improvement plan they have been dreaming about for quite a while. Hiring a home improvement contractor though, is a move that can actually make or break your project. The Better Business Bureau receives more complaints to do with one or another home improvement contracting business than almost any other kind. And it happens every year. At various state consumer protection divisions, home improvement and construction businesses regularly rank among the top sources of consumer complaints. What should you do to make sure that your project goes well and doesn’t fall victim to one of the fraudulent practices that seem to inhabit the home-improvement world?
The first thing you need to do hiring a home improvement contractor is to make sure that you go with someone who has a local presence and a good list of references. Basically, you don’t want to hire an out-of-state contractor who just goes around in his pickup truck loaded with tools and equipment. It’s very easy for anyone to appear local with a bunch of cheap business cards printed, a few flyers and an advertisement in the local paper. You need to just make sure that you’re going with someone who is actually local to your area and has a proper office.
When you’re serious about a home improvement contractor, before you even call that person (and risk having him latch onto and constantly call you) you need to see if BBB has a rating or a complaints history about him. When everything checks out on BBB, you can actually be assured that you are dealing with someone who is a serious player. Once you call your contractor, make sure is that you ask to see proof that he is licensed, has liability insurance to protect you in case anything should go wrong with the job, and that it is his policy to provide a proper warranty on all work done and all products installed.
With all the background checks in place, you could concentrate on the actual the job at hand. You can’t hire a home-improvement contractor just because he seems competent though. He needs to be someone who specializes in the kind of design that you have in mind. With that in mind, it would make a lot of sense to ask for references. Three recent jobs of the specific kind that you have in mind would be great. Of course, for the best deal overall, you need to let the contractor you speak to know that you will be speaking to other contractors for their bids as well. Make sure that you get a written bid from at least three contractors before you decide on one.