When you decide to make the investment in a home improvement project, you’re likely entrusting a professional contractor to bring your vision to life on time and on budget.
Remodeling contractors are diverse, so it’s important to take your time, ask lots of questions and do your research before selecting the right one for the job. Keep in mind these considerations from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:
Choose local. A local home improvement contractor with an established business in your area is likely connected to your community and has a vested interest in doing a job well. Referrals are an important source of business for local companies, so local remodelers are typically compelled to perform quality work that satisfies their customers in order for their businesses to survive.
Discuss experience. While a skilled remodeler may be willing to take on something new, chances are you’ll be best served by working with someone who has experience with your specific project. A learning curve can be expensive, and the results aren’t always exactly as you hope. Talk about similar projects the contractor has completed in the past and how that work compares to what you’re planning. Also be sure to ask what, if any, outside certifications a contractor may have earned that are pertinent to the project.
Understand staffing. Be sure you’re clear about who will be in your home completing the work, whether it’s the person you meet to discuss a bid or an assigned team. Ask who the project supervisor will be, and if any work is to be subcontracted, who is ultimately responsible for those tasks.
Check references. A reputable contractor should be able to produce a list of past customers who can attest to the remodeler’s workmanship and service. You can contact the government Consumer Affairs Office and the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints on record for the contractor. Also ask if the remodeler is a member of any trade groups or associations.
Verify licensing. Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed, bonded or both. Contact your state or local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor meets all requirements. Ask the remodeling contractor for current copies of applicable licenses.
Confirm insurance. Ask to see a copy of the remodeling contractor’s certification of insurance or the name of his or her insurance agency to verify coverage. Most states require a contractor to carry worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance. Make sure the contractor’s insurance coverage meets all the minimum requirements.
Compare bids. There are a number of different factors that go into pricing a remodeling project. Be sure that every estimate reflects the same scope of work. If the estimates don’t fully spell out what work is going to be done, go back to the contractor for clarification in writing.