As a homeowner, you understand that repairs are needed from time to time. Finding a responsible contractor to complete the job is often more of a job that actually doing the work yourself! Having been involved with construction and community management I have learned a couple of tricks in finding quality contractors. Here are a few items to consider when hiring a contractor.
First and foremost, you want to make sure the contractor has valid insurance. You can ask the contractor to supply a Certificate of Insurance. For additional security, ask the contractor to have the insurance company supply the Certificate of Insurance directly to you. Contractors may have copies on hand but could have cancelled the policy after making copies. If the insurance company provides a copy you will know that their insurance is current. You can also ask the insurance company to add you as an additional insured on their insurance. This will protect you incase the contractor damages someone else’s property or someone gets hurt as a result of the contractor.
Second, one of the most useful tools I use is online reviews. Most contractors are listed on Google or Kudzu and will have reviews listed for their company. Make sure you read multiple reviews as there will always be positive and negative. A sign of a quality contractor is actually found under the negative reviews. Quality contractors will address the negative reviews and explain their reasoning for the issue. Negative reviews are not always bad.
Third, look at the contractor’s payment policy. Never pay the contractor the entire price upfront. If any payment is needed only pay for materials. Make sure the contract you sign does not state more than 50% of the payment is due upfront. If at all possible have the full payment due upon completion.
Fourth, depending on the job ask the contractor to provide a performance bond also known as a completion bond.
Lastly, one final tip would be to obtain multiple quotes to make sure you are getting the best price for the work. Never settle with just one quote. This way you can review the quotes to make sure something wasn’t overlooked.
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