When it comes to most major home improvements, it makes sense to hire a pro rather than take on the job yourself. But choosing the wrong contractor can lead to not only stress and headaches but delays, subpar work and even legal problems. The following tips will help you choose a professional contractor and ensure a successful, stress-free working relationship.
Go with your gut
The “old saying” is usually spot on. A contractor could be in your home and around your family for days, weeks or even months on a given project. So if you don’t like a contractor for any reason, don’t hire them. You have to trust the contractor 100%, not 95%.”
Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured
Having a license and insurance demonstrates a contractor’s credibility and knowledge. The license shows that contractors have taken an exam and proved they know building codes and processes. “A license minimizes the risk to homeowners of getting ripped off,” a contractor should openly and willingly list their license # on cards, contracts, website etc.
Get proof of insurance! If a contractor doesn’t have insurance and a worker gets hurt on your project, you could be liable. The same goes with accidents that damage your next-door neighbor’s home.
Have a detailed contract in place before any work begins
There’s never too much detail in a contract. The contract should cover costs, brands of items being installed, colors, materials, approximate start and finish dates, a complete set of drawings being used and any written specifications applicable to the project. “It’s all about expectations. If we agree on everything upfront, then there are no surprises.” A contract is not “contractual” unless signed by both the business and customer.
Review past projects and testimonials
Whether it is their company website, brochure or sample/testimonial book, this allows you to see the quality of their work and the satisfaction of their previous customers. Looking at a contractor’s past projects also lets you see the variety of work the company has performed, for example in our case would be solar, roofs, windows and exteriors.