Finding a qualified contractor is tedious work. So, it’s important to know what qualities to look for in a contractor.
Compile a Shortlist of Contractors
You can save a lot of time by asking for referrals from friends and family instead of searching on the internet. You can also call the Better Business Bureau, a nonprofit organization that promotes ethical business practices, or your local builders’ association for a list of contractors in your area.
Narrow Down the List
Once you’ve compiled a shortlist, narrow it down based on customer reviews on their website or social media pages. Keep in mind that a few negative reviews aren’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Miscommunication can still happen, after all. If there is a negative review, focus on the contractor’s response to the complaint. An appropriate response would indicate professionalism on the contractor’s part.
Having no website or social media presence is a red flag in itself. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for not having any of the two.
Vet the Remaining Contractors
Now comes the most tedious part: the vetting process. We’ve listed below the things you need to ask a contractor before hiring someone:
- Basic Qualifications – Do they have insurance for personal liability, workers’ compensation and property damage coverage?
- Experience – Ask a contractor how long they’ve been in the industry. On what are the projects they’ve worked?
- References – Ask the contractor for a list of customer references.
- Subcontractors – Will subcontractors be involved in this project? Keep in mind that it will be harder for you and the contractor to monitor the quality of work if you’re subcontracting parts of the project.
- Estimates – Ask for the estimated costs of the project. The lowest deal isn’t necessarily the best as the contractor may simply be using lower-quality materials. Make sure the estimate includes the specifics of the materials to be used. If, for example, you asked for an estimate for a replacement window, check if the contractor will be installing reputable brands.
An easier way of vetting contractors would be to look for certifications. These certifications are proof that a contractor has undergone additional training to enhance their expertise.
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