When you have to choose a contractor for some of the repairs work on your home, how will you tell the difference between a certified professional and a charlatan? Research and the right questions are what you’ll need to make this important decision.
When looking for contractors, you want to ask your friends for referrals, check online for customer review sites, get info from your local home hardware store and glance through the yellow pages. Call at least three potential contractors to interview and request quotes.
While you’re asking for quotations, give every contractor the same information so your comparison is consistent. How to Interview a Contractor When interviewing a potential contractor, it’s important to ask these questions:
- Are you licensed in this city/state?
If your potential contractor has a license, get the number and call your local building department’s licensing office to validate it. Also, contact your Better Business Bureau and state Consumer Protection Agency to find out what’s required to obtain a license in your state.
- Can you provide me with 3 references from jobs done in the last year?
Use references to check your contractor’s work history, reliability and ability to stay on budget and schedule. Don’t be afraid to quiz the references on the specifics of the work they had done and to what level they were satisfied with the work. If there were problems of significance, that is what you want to unearth.
- What insurance do you have?
Contractors should come to you insured. They should have general liability, workman’s compensation, auto insurance, and property and personal liability. Ask for a copy of your contractor’s insurance because the last thing you want is legal and financial responsibility should an accident take place on your property.
- How experienced are you?
Find out how long your contractor has been in business. Anything over five years is usually a sign of a reliable, stable business. A work history less than this time period does not mean the person is not qualified or sufficiently experienced for the job. It simply means your risk might be a little higher.
- Do you have a portfolio?
Most contractors will have before and after photographs of their past work. Look through these to get an idea of the type of work your contractor does and his or her abilities.
With the above, I’m sure you would be able to make up your mind on the right contractor for your home repairs.