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How To Choose A Reliable Contractor For A Job In Your Home

By Mason White 10:59 AM January 13, 2017
Contractors (illustration)
By: Michelle Parker

Finding a contractor to do any home improvement job can be stressful.

You want to find a contractor who is professional, honest and get a fair price.

Here are tips on how to find the best contractor in your area.

Get three estimates. Reputable business people don’t have a problem with giving you a written estimate.

If a contractor gets irritated when learning that you are shopping around for the best price for the quality work that you expect, then drop them.

Don’t deal with them even if their estimates are the lowest.

Get estimates in writing. Professional contractors will give you a clear and itemized bill for everything they are going to do in your home.

If the price of one contractor is much lower than the other, then stay away. Remember that if it is too good to be true, then it’s not true.

The low price may indicate that the contractor will be using
very low quality supplies or they will ask for more money during the job.

If you will refuse to give them more money during the job, then they may leave you with an unfinished job and a lot of aggravation.

Look at the appearance of the contractor who is giving you the estimate. If they look disheveled and dirty, stay away as this may indicate their style of work.

You don’t want a messy job to ruin your home.

Ask the contractors for references. Speak to those people and ask them if you can come to their homes so you can see the contractor’s work.

They may also give you good ideas, which you might be able to use in your home.

Check the contractor’s license and insurance.

Do a Google search on their names. You may find very valuable information about each of the contractors from people who have used them before.

Go with gut feeling. Go with the person who you feel you can best work with, even if their price is a bit more expensive.

Once your hire a person, put every detail in writing. Don’t just sign a contract before you read it carefully and you understand what you are singing.

Whatever is not in writing will not be done. Contractors might be nice, but this is their business and they need to make the most money possible from the job.

Remember, construction takes longer than expected. If you must have things done by a specific date, make sure to write it in the contract.

You may want to offer incentives for the contractor to finish the job earlier than promised. You can offer the contractor a bonus of more money if they are completely done before that date.

You can also add a penalty for every week that the job is not done after the promised date.

However, you have to make sure to discuss it clearly and write it into the contract. If the contractor is not willing to add this clause to the contract, then you know that the job will probably take much longer than promised.

Ask your insurance company for recommendations. You can do this even if the insurance company is not paying for the job.

Many insurance companies have agreements with reputable local contractors so their recommendations can be very useful.

Don’t pay for labor up front. Some contractors will ask for money for the supplies upfront, but no reputable contractor will ask you for the full amount of money in advance.