Whatever your Home Improvement needs, you need a professional contractor you can trust. A professional contractor will provide you with sound advice on products, reasonable explanation of procedures, and most important, provide solid results.
Where To Begin
There are many ways to start your search for the contractor who meets your individual needs. Referrals are obviously the best source for names of credible companies. Ask friends and family members who they have used in the past. The state and local licensing authorities, local trade associations and your local yellow page directory are also excellent sources of information, as well as local suppliers of building products.
Meeting with a Contractor
After you have compiled a list of possible contractors, take time to evaluate each one carefully. A professional contractor will be happy to provide any information you may require.
- Discuss: Good contractors take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of helping you with your problems.
- Experience: The training and experience of a contractor, as well as the age of his or her company, will help you determine their ability to successfully complete your project.
- Licensing/Bonding: Ask for business license numbers and information on the company which bonds the contractor.
- Insurance Coverage: A contractor should carry general liability insurance. Request the name and address of the insurance. Beware of low bids which are a result of incomplete insurance.
- Professional References: Your contractor's past can help determine your future. Ask to see pictures or get references of work done.
- Company Philosophy: Discuss application techniques and workmanship guarantees. Does the contractor stand behind his work?
Ask About Products
Your contractor should have up-to-date knowledge on quality products for your project. They are the best source of information, but you should play an active role in the product selection process. Ask questions about different materials such as brand names, life span, thickness, design, available colors and warranties. Selecting the best products is as important to your job as selecting the right contractor.
Prior to drafting a contract, most contractors will provide you with either an estimate or a proposal. An estimate typically provides a single price, a generically described product, a color and no options. A proposal offers more detail with a choice of products by brand name, prices, services and designs. A proposal will normally offer options-good, better and best-and include product samples and literature. A contractor who takes the time to prepare a good proposal will most likely do a more thorough job. All items to be accomplished should be written as part of your contract. Get it in writing. Beware of verbal promises. When a contract is presented, it should spell out the proposed work, prices and completion date.
Read the contract carefully.Pay special attention to be certain the following points are covered in the contract:
- Start and Completion Dates: including plan of action in case of weather delays.
- Products: what will be used, brands, colors, etc.
- Site Procedures: work hours, clean-up procedures around your home, etc.
- Warranties: including both workmanship and product.
Sit Back and Relax
A little well-planned research up front will undoubtedly save you lot of time and trouble later on. Once you feel confident that you have the best contractor, the best products, the best value simply relax and let your contractor do his job. Do, however monitor the progress of your project to be certain your contractor lives up to his superior reputation.