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Whether you want a new bathtub, or want to replace the tiles in your kitchen using experts’ help, you will need a contractor for doing that job. Sure, you can try doing it by yourself, using the DIYs videos on YouTube or from any online guide, but you may end up messing things even more because this is a job for the experts.
There have been many frauds escalating in the news and media about contractors scamming many different families and then vanishing all of a sudden, taking away thousands of dollars. This is especially prominent during the summer because it is the peak time during which the resident owners start with their house improvement projects. Surely many of the contractors are trustworthy and honest and hard workers, but every now and then, a contractor will appear who will be ready to scam an innocent family and grab all of their money. Therefore it becomes very important to find the right contractor for making your home improvements. The right contractors have the right tools for completing the job, like sieve shakers, wood chisel sets or combination pliers, which are not commonly available in a normal household these days.
Use Your Links, and Gather Info
You can use your contacts and links and find out from your friends and family whether they have made improvements to their homes recently, and if so, which contractor did they hire for the job. You can even go online and compare reviews or use social media for further confirmation and new faces. This way, you will have much broader coverage and more room to think. But be careful when searching for contractors, as many con men will make it easier for you to gather information. A good way is to see their social media presence and visit their website. Once you have made a list of a couple of very good contractors (roundabout 15-20) from your area, it is time to shortlist them.
Do a Side by Side Comparison
Now it is time to see which contractor will be best suitable for the job that you require them to do. Maybe one contractor specializes in doing bathroom work and therefore will not be suitable for your needs. It is better to look into each one of the listed contractors that you have made in order to get the best one for you.
For doing that, ask your contractors for a list and pictures of the recent projects they have completed in the past year. They will usually direct you to their own website or any social media account where you can see the list of past years’ projects and compare their work with what you want. Take a good look at the pictures of the projects and consider at least seeing 8-10 recent projects. If it includes blueprints or sketches, that’s are even better as it will further help you in understanding the specialty of the contractor.
If you come across a contractor having very few projects, having blurry hard to see images, or any work that you find is not up to the standard, then just remove that contractor from your list.
Ask for Official Documentation
Now for further shortlisting the best, the next thing you want to do is ask for any legal certificate they have for carrying out that particular job. The license and certificate will depend on the work you want, and since they vary from state to state, it is better to call and ask for specific requirements from your licensing division of your state. Apart from having the legal documentation, check whether your contractors on the list have liability insurance in case of any damage. Do ask for a copy of that insurance or any other worker’s compensation policy they have and make sure it is updated.
Ask Plenty of Questions
Now that the list has been further narrowed, it’s time to ask questions to verify everything that you have searched.
- Ask for how long they have been in business and doing their work. This will help you in cross-checking their portfolio.
- Ask for their recent references. Recent reference is important as it will make sure that the contractors have been doing good quality work. Any good contractors will be glad to hand over you their recent references. Check if there is a huge gap between the recent projects and ask your contractor for a reason for these gaps. It may not necessarily indicate a drop in the quality of their work; it may also mean that they may decide to take a break or got injured. Contact those references and ask them for the quality of work, delay in completion, did they have what they desired? Did the contractor respond to their calls or not? Did he keep his promises? Was it completed within a budget, and how much did it spray from your budget? Would you further recommend this contractor to your family and friends?
- Ask for any other projects they are currently doing, and will this hinder your work completion and ask for the time that will be required to complete this work.
- Ask for a payment schedule and how much advance they will require. Most contractors start their work with a little advance and then continue with small payments being done on each step of completion.
- Ask about the workers, and will they be the same every day, or will they change.
- Ask for the final picture they have in mind, what the place will look like after completion of the work. And what do they need for the completion of the project? This will make sure that you have an idea of how the end project will look like once it is completed, and whether it will affect your daily life or not. Factors like dust accumulation or trash generated may be important for your ongoing daily life.
Finally, get a Bid for your Job
Now that you have the best of the contractors on your list, it’s time to bid for the job. Ask the contractors for a brief proposal that will include the amount that will be required, the materials needed to complete the project and the timeline of your project. Now it is time to select your contractor depending on their proposed plans.