Hiring a contractor can be a stressful decision. Choosing the wrong contractor can ruin your project, your house, and even your life. On the flip side, hiring the correct contractor can make for a smooth, easy and beautiful home improvement project. There are so many horror stories from people hiring shady contractors that run off with their money or do shoddy work. Although, it’s impossible to know for sure; there are tips to ensure you are hiring the right contractor.
1. Ask for friend, family, and co-worker recommendations: This is a huge first step people miss when researching contractors. Friends, family, and co-workers have valuable insight if they have used a contractor in the past for any project. They may rave about or hate how a project has went in the past, and their recommendation (or lack of) is a valuable tool in who to begin calling for your job.
2. Look for reviews BEFORE getting a quote: Don’t waste your time; look online for reviews for the company or general contractor you are using. With so many places to find reviews you are bound to find something on each contractor you are planning on getting a bid from. If the online reviews are mostly negative, with little positive, it’s probably a good idea to skip even getting a quote from that contractor.
3. Get multiple bids: This advice is age old, and for good reason. Getting multiple bids will help determine what you are getting into. One contractor may be significantly over or under priced, or all three bids may be around the same. Having multiple bids can help you weed out the over or under priced contractor.
4. The less expensive bid is not always the better bid: In fact, it can often mean quite the opposite. If you receive four quotes within a thousand dollars of $10,000 and one quote comes in at $6,000- chances are that contractor is cutting corners or missing something. Really review each quote for the scope of work including in the contractors price. There are obviously variables, a better company has a higher overhead which means a higher cost, but a better company is also more likely to honor their warranties. The contractor cutting corners may not even be around in three years to honor that warranty.
5. Check BBB and Contractors State License Board: Seriously, this is a step that should never be missed. Contractors are also salespeople. They need to sell themselves so that you will pay them for their services, you don’t necessarily trust the car salesman at the lot, and you shouldn’t assume that the friendly and seemingly knowledgeable guy in the pickup is any less of a salesman. Check his contractor’s license to make sure he has one, make sure there no complaints, make sure he is bonded and insured. A contractor that doesn’t handle his legal business probably isn’t the best contractor to hire.