When it comes to large home improvement projects, finding the right contractor to do the work is one of the most important parts of the process. There are many home improvement contractors to choose from though, and picking the right one can be a daunting task for many homeowners. To help you narrow down your choices, here are 6 things to ask or look for before hiring a contractor for your next home improvement project:
1. Read Online Reviews
The first thing you should do in your search for a contractor is to read online reviews previous customers have left about each company you are considering. Some of the most common review sites include Google Reviews, Yelp, Homeadvisor, Angi, and Better Business Bureau. As you’re reading through these review sites, pay attention to common themes you notice about the experiences customers have had. A single review doesn’t always reflect the whole company, but if you notice multiple similar reviews, it is likely that you can expect something along those same lines.
2. Schedule Multiple Estimate Appointments
The next thing you should do is schedule estimate appointments with several different companies in your area. Whether you’re looking for a painting professional, roofing company, or electrician, it is likely that there are many options. The estimate appointments give you the opportunity to meet with a salesperson from the company, ask any questions you may have, and get a feel for the way they handle communication and customer service.
In most cases, the experience you have during the estimate appointment will be similar to the experience you will have during the rest of your project. Take this into consideration as you make your final decision.
3. Check Licensing and Insurance Information
During the estimate appointment, make sure to ask each company whether or not they are fully licensed and insured to state standards. Most home improvement companies are required to have some sort of license or certification and full insurance in order to carry out the work. These credentials are for the protection of the company and employees, as well as you, the homeowner, in the event that an accident occurs on your property.
4. Check Their Past Work
At the estimate appointment, ask if they have any photos of past work (if applicable) or customer reviews of work similar to your project. If the work is visible from the street, such as a new roof, or exterior paint job, you can ask for addresses of previous jobs they have done. Looking at previous work may give you an idea of the quality and scope of work a particular company has done in the past, and give you peace of mind moving forward with your selection.
5. Research Permit Requirements
Once you’ve identified the company you want to use, make sure to ask about any permits that are required for your project and who is responsible for getting them. You can do additional research with your city or county to make sure you understand exactly what is required. Building codes vary from city to city, so be sure to research your area to find out what you will need.
6. Verify The Payment Schedule and Terms
Before you sign the contract, make sure you verify the payment schedule, and terms and conditions laid out for you. Some companies charge in full before they start the work, others ask for a down payment of up to 50%, and some don’t charge until the work is completed. Understanding what is expected of you and when before signing the paperwork will help you feel prepared going into the project.
When finding a contractor for home improvement projects, remember to ask questions, explore your options, and do your research. Hopefully these 6 tips help you narrow down your options and find the best option for your project!