As it may be one of the most expensive and significant decisions you ever make, it is important to do your homework before choosing a contractor. Whether hiring a contractor for renovations to an existing home or for the construction of a new home, there are 7 key things to consider…
1. Check with your local builders’ association to determine they are a member in good standing.
2. Ensure the individual is licensed. Each state has its own rules for licensing and verification. In Pennsylvania, you can verify a contractor’s license at the website of the Attorney General
3. Ask for references. Ask for a minimum of three current references that can be contacted directly. It is also helpful to ask to see samples of the contractor’s previous work.
4. Ask to see proof of insurance. Have the contractor provide a certificate of insurance. If a project will last more than one year, make note of the policy’s expiration date. When that date arrives, ask to see the new certificate of insurance to ensure the contractor is keeping the policy active. Make sure the individual is insured for workman’s compensation and liability.
5. Get a written proposal. This document should be a detailed proposal with a budget breakdown of construction costs and payment schedule.
6. Tour the site together. When doing this, make sure you and the contractor agree on the scope of work to be completed. Take notes of your meeting. When the job starts, there should be no guesswork involved.
7. Make communication a priority. The contractor should be easy to contact and talk to. Communication should be good on both ends, so it is important that the you and contractor get along well.
A home improvement project or new home construction gone wrong can cost you with delays, sub-par work, and even legal issues. Doing your research will help ensure a hassle free project with an outcome of which you will be proud.