Building maintenance, repairs, and remodeling generally cost an arm and a leg, and many times, homeowners are left less than happy with the result. Here are five things to look for in a professional contractor to ensure that you start off on the right foot and stand the best chance of a successful home renovation or remodeling project.
The first step that has not been mentioned below is that you should know exactly what you want. Many a home improvement results in the contractors’ dream house, while the owner is left with snag lists and things they would dearly like to change. Be clear from the outset. Before you look for a contractor, you must know exactly what it is you want or need. Furthermore, do not start off on the list below unless you have your wish list written down, a memory board with example pictures is a great idea, but just a few notes will suffice, linked to a very clear budget. Many a failed contractor relationship starts off with a very wishy-washy idea in the homeowner’s head and never really progresses as the recording process never concretizes it. Have a plan and a budget, and some clear expectations of the process before you embark. You will need these things before you consider a contractor and then work your way through the list below.
1. Registered, regulated, and licensed
The first thing to confirm in any search for the right building or home improvement contractor is their registrations. They must be registered with the professional body associated with their trade; this is specifically relevant for gas and electric contractors. But roofing and building contractors should also be registered and certified to work in your specific state. Others will refer to this as the licensing, but regardless of the terminology, make sure that the contractor you choose is licensed to do the works they say they can do. It is generally a statewide or national license and can be checked online, take nothing at face value, and double-check with the licensing authority if needs be.
Intricately linked to the trade and industry-specific registrations and accreditations, your prospective contractor must be able to show you the relevant insurance documents; no one knows what can happen during home improvements, a burst water pipe, damage to existing structures need to be covered by insurance.
2. Reviews and references
In a world governed by the internet, spend some time on social media platforms and local forums to see what others think of the businesses that you are interested in. Do not rely on the reviews on their own sites; yes, these are important, but rather look for independent sites and objective reviews. For example, there are sites like Yelp, home advisor, and Angie’s list that provide a clearly structured rating system and independent reviews from previous customers and clients.
It must be emphasized herein that checking online reviews will not suffice for checking references. Once you have narrowed it down with the online reviews, you will need to request and check references. Try to talk to both previous or current clients and other contractors in the fired to get an overall view of the person or company you will let into your home and trust with your home remodeling or improvements.
3. Holistic but specialized
You need to find contractors who are comfortable and capable of performing the specific task you need and the associated fixes related to integrating their work into the home as a whole. So, a company that does the roof must be able to do guttering and siding as well, an example can be seen at Rock Solid Exteriors, where the specialization is the roof, but the holistic manner that this is integrated into the overall building design is just as important. This is important so that you have a specialized firm that can also provide a holistic integration of their work, without you having to get another firm in to complete the works or add the guttering in this specific example.
You thus need to ask the right questions and know that your one issue may be related to other components of your home and that they may all need to be looked at and discussed as part of the overall contractor’s solution.
4. Approved/registered financing
Rather than opting for the cheapest quote and spending more to rectify issues, look for the most cost-effective work by the best-referred business. Then enquire as to any payment options. Building and renovation works can be extremely expensive, and having a payment option may allow you to get a more sustainable and longer-lived repair. If you do use any payment options, be sure to check that it’s with an approved banking partner. Check the interest rates and repayment periods and be sure that it is not going to cost more than you can afford.
One of the most common and currently trending means to select a contractor, or that forms part of the selection process and criteria, is whether the firm in question does anything in your local community or in theirs. Any forms of community engagement, support for charities, and works done at reduced rates and at cost for those who need them most. These are the types of businesses that you want to interact with. Business with heart and soul. It’s easy to check up on any social media platforms or the company website to give you an idea of the company’s social investment or responsibility.
Choosing a contractor to work on something as important as your home is a major decision, and the information provided herein will allow you to ensure you have chosen correctly. However, your decision will also depend on the type of works or improvements that you want to do. For example, if it is a simple repaving of the driveway, then some Facebook reviews and community referrals may suffice, while a new roof or kitchen and bathroom may need you to follow all of the guidance here.