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Tips to hire contractors for your home projects
Have you or someone you know ever had a contractor not complete the work, or the contractor walked away with thousands of dollars? Most of us have heard a horror story similar to this. Although most contractors are not that way, we at NWALook wanted to provide some steps to minimize the risk of that happening to you.
1. Verify License Credentials
Check the status of the contractor’s license; also, consider the duration they have had their license and whether they have consistently operated under the same name. Verify status here.
2. Request References & Past Work
Ask for references and any evidence of past work. With almost everyone having smartphones now, the contractor will likely have pictures of their prior work. Ask for photos throughout the process so you can see the quality of construction and the materials they used.
3. Ensure Adequate Insurance Coverage
Confirm the contractor has adequate insurance coverage in case of an unforeseen issue arising. For added peace of mind, you may contact the insurance company to verify the coverage is legitimate.
4. Personal Recommendations
Consult with your network, friends, family, or your local Realtor. They may have experience with some local contractors and be able to share the pros and cons of working with a specific contractor. These will be the most honest reviews and can help you make an informed decision.
5. Online Reviews
Search online for any social media accounts or websites the contractor may have. Often, clients who are unhappy or very satisfied will leave reviews. If there is an overwhelming amount of negative reviews, this is, more often than not, a red flag.
6. Establish Clear Terms
Clearly articulate the work you would like to be completed. For example, the cost could be significantly different if you want cedar wood for a project and the contractor bids using pine wood.
7. Have Everything in Writing
Once you have established clear goals for your project, have everything in writing between you and the contractor. Things to consider in writing are:
- Timelines: When will construction begin? When is it expected to be completed?
- Billing: Will you be billed as cost plus, billed at the end of the project, billed in installments as the project progresses, and billed all upfront? Billing upfront is much riskier for you as a customer as the contractor could potentially walk away with all the money, and none of the work has been completed. How will things be handled if material costs go up?
- Receipts: ensure receipts are provided for any money paid to the contractor.
- Warranty: Is there a warranty for the work being completed? If so, how long is it through the materials manufacturer or with the contractor?
It is recommended to have a paper trail for everything in case any disputes arise.
8. Multiple Bids from Licensed Contractors
It’s also important to have a few different bids from contractors to make sure you are not overpaying for a project. While price is not the only factor to consider when getting bids, you don’t want to overpay by thousands for the same or similar quality of construction.