When it comes time to hire a contractor, there are a number of ways to go about finding one. Nearly everybody has a cousin or a friend of a friend who does contract work, or a recommendation from a neighbor, or perhaps a flyer was left on your front door some time ago. These are all perfectly good ways to initially find and contact a contractor, but then you want to check their credentials to assure they plan to do a great job, on time and professionally, and offer a fair price for their services.
Planning: Bids, Financing and Design
Your first impression is when you speak to the contractor or their sales representative to look at the job and place a bid. You can evaluate if the contractor seems to know the job and if he acts professionally. The litmus test is to consider whether he seems like the kind of person you would invite into your home. After placing the price quote, the contractor should have already allowed for a basic design with plans as to how to start the job and whether it requires more in depth designs before starting. According to the size of the job and your needs, he should be able to discuss with you whether his company offers in-house financing or give advice as to what other customers have had to do for bank loans to pay for the job.
Professional installation is going to make all the difference in the world as to how happy you’ll be with the work after the contractor has finished the job. Construction work can be physically demanding and dirty so you don’t expect the workers to show up in office attire, but you do expect them to be clean and decent when they show up to start the day’s work. You expect them to be polite and courteous to you and your family. You’re expected to stay out of their way and let them do their job, but there’s also an expectation they understand this is your home and work around you, trying not to interrupt your regular schedule.
Warranties and Ongoing Support
Every legitimate contractor is going to provide a warranty for their work. Most contractors take enough pride in their work to honor their warranty but those few occasions when a contractor doesn’t can truly be a nightmare. Online reviews are an easy way to check a contractor is an easy way to check a contractor’s reputation for warranty or ongoing support. References from the contractor’s other clients can be useful, and you can always tell a reliable contractor by their standing in the community. Consider how many employees the contractor has, whether there’s an easily accessible main office or whether you have to track him down to his current jobsite if you need to discuss any future issues. Additionally, something as simple as if the contractor answers his phone during normal business hours is always a good sign he’s going to be accessible if you need changes made after he’s finished your job.
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