Choosing a contractor can be incredibly stressful. Everyone has a friend or family member who was gone through a difficult renovation and there are even TV shows dedicated to showing the dark side of contractors. Your contractor is someone who you not only need to trust with your property and money but someone you must be able to communicate effectively. All construction projects have unexpected hiccups but often the difference between a small set back and catastrophic failure is in communication. Here are some tips when comparing local contractors before you make your final decision.
Ask around. Word of mouth is the single most effective means of meeting a reliable contractor. People who have had good experiences with a contractor will often happily share that information. On the other hand yes they have had a bad experience they will be even more inclined to share.
Check their website. Almost all contractors today have a website that will showcase projects they have worked on and provide information about their services/available products. Doing some research on a contractor’s website can help narrow your list down by eliminating contractors who do not provide the services you need. There will likely the client testimonials as well.
Check review sites. Angie’s List, Yelp, and a whole host of other resources are available and if your contractor has been in business for any length of time there will be reviews available. Keep in mind that with anything else on the internet, just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s true. It is a useful tool to gauge the overall reputation of a contractor. Some websites may prioritize negative reviews over positive ones So it’s more productive to focus on the big picture rather than individual reports.
Check with Labor and Industries. Your states’ L&I website should list your contractor’s current legal status. If your contractor is not legally in business, there is no protection if anything goes wrong in your home.
Ask about insurance. All contractors are required to be insured but not all insurance policies are created equal. Don’t be afraid to question your contractor on the coverage they are providing.
Ask about job site supervision. Many contractors can require you to be at home and available to meet subcontractors during the project. If you are comfortable being a part of the project management you may choose to do so but most people who hire a contractor prefer to avoid managing their own project. A full-service contractor will have on-site representation to manage any subcontractors to ensure the work is precisely done according to the contract.