How NOT to get Screwed When Choosing a Contractor
General contractors for residential home improvement are coming out of the wood work! It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a specialized contractor for your HVAC systems, or a general contractor to build that new amazing home you’ve always dreamed of.
There are definitely some tips you need to learn before even negotiating with any contractor for any job.
Do Your Homework
Time spent here is time well spent!
Choosing your contractor is the single most important decision in any home improvement project you undertake. Taking the lowest price is often the worst way to make this decision. As the saying goes… “you get what you pay for” and you may have to live with your mistakes!
Take your time and be thorough in your search. We can provide you with a few tips on where to begin no matter where you reside.
Half of all projects signed by a contractor are the result of client referrals.
Nearly half of all projects signed by a contractor are the result of client referrals. An additional 22 percent of jobs are the result of word-of-mouth. If you hear about us from a referral great! But if you respond to an ad, grab a number from a job site sign or a truck while sitting at a light ask for references.
Reputable contractors should be happy to supply you with a list of satisfied customers as referrals and their completed portfolio, they should have nothing to hide! Don’t forget you should also check to be sure the company you are considering are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
You can check their rating and records of complaints by following this link Click here to visit The BBB.
These are some of your best sources for leads:
- Business Colleagues
- Real Estate Agents
Other sources include:
- Job site signs: Pay particular attention to homes with signs of their contracting company on the lawn. Is the site clean? Are tools and materials being handled in a responsible manner? Are there dust covers over the owner’s belongings to protect them?
- Direct Mail: Some contractors will send direct mail to homeowners within a few blocks of a current job. Call and ask the homeowner if you could tour the project with the contractor.
- Seminars: Attend local seminars on home improvement topics. Some firms host free seminars on how to choose a contractor and other interesting remodeling topics. Check your local newspaper community news section for information.
- Home Shows: This is a somewhat tricky place to interview contractors since they will be surrounded by other consumers. However, this is a great place to gather information about companies and to make an initial contact with the contractors.
Driving down the street and see a new remodel you like, drop a note to the homeowner requesting contact information for the contractor they used. The homeowner will be flattered by your approval of their home and are usually more than happy to supply you with the requested information.
Please be sure to include your cell number and email address in your note making it as easy as possible for the homeowner to provide you with a name and number.
Are You Licensed and Insured?
Be sure to ask the important questions!
Most states require contractors to carry a contractor’s license along with insurance such as worker’s compensation, liability, and property damage coverage. For your protection be sure and ask to see your contractor’s license and insurance certificates.
Double check the dates and be certain both the insurance certificates and licenses will be valid throughout the project. In addition be sure that any sub-contractor used on your property is adequately insured.
DO NOT do business with uninsured and unlicensed contractors, if you do you may be liable for injuries or damages that happen on your property!
This point cannot be stated strongly enough and in the trying economic times we live in it may be tempting to save a few bucks. Remember when you roll the dice you sometimes loose and loose big! Just imagine a bundle of shingles falling on your new $5000 HVAC system. Do you think an uninsured contractor is going to pay for it?
Ignore the unscrupulous, uninsured contractors low-ball quote and NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH THE UNLICENSED/UNINSURED CONTRACTOR, it’s just not worth it!
Why a BPI Accredited Contractor is the Right Contractor for the Job
Your goal when choosing to do home improvement is to make your home healthier, safer and more comfortable as well as energy efficient. How do you choose a contractor who can fill this bill?
Be sure to choose a contractor who has BPI accreditation and you’re on the road to the home of your dreams! Look for Building Performance Institute credentials and you will be choosing a contractor who has completed BPI’s nationally recognized training, certification, accreditation and quality assurance programs.
The network of BPI professionals are committed to getting the work done right the first time around! Contractors who meet BPI’s stringent requirements earn the right to use the BPI mark of assurance.
Look for the BPI emblem when selecting your contractor and you will be hiring elite and highly-trained professionals. Make your choice based on proven performance not just price, your home and family deserves the best!
If you take away just one thing
Being informed is laying the groundwork for great results!
If you take away just one thing be it how to confidently choose a general contractor for your home improvement and energy work.
Remember, mistakes made here are mistakes you may have to live with for some time to come! Don’t regret not spending more time on your research for home improvement artist every time you open your iffy cabinet door or trip over loose tile.
Be confident that the home energy specialist you selected truly understands the science of your homes envelope.
Being informed is laying the groundwork for great results!