Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ensure A Good Experience Hiring A Contractor

Whether you're considering a small remodel or are building a home from scratch, it's important to find a licensed and certified contractor who is experienced and trustworthy. You need to know they are adept at sticking to a budget and are experts in the area of construction they practice. Most of all, take the time to check their references, potential complaint history, and work portfolio. It's worth the time and effort to uncover important details so you can make sure to hire the best contractor for your job.

Here are some tips on how to go about hiring a contractor who you can trust.

Find a Contractor You Can Trust
  1. Ask Around. Online references and reviews can be helpful but they aren't always accurate.  Who's to say if the comments are posted by honest customers or a contractor's friends a family? The best references are people who have had work done by a contractor in the past five years. Know any friends or neighbors who have had recent remodels? Ask them about the pros and cons of the contractors they have used. Honest word of mouth, from people you trust, is a valuable resource.
  2. Verify Their State License. Once you've narrowed the prospective field to a few companies, make sure you're getting bids from licensed contractors. Verify they are listed on the California Contractor's State License Board website. This will give you information regarding their license and whether it is active or expired. It is best to check by license number, as names can be similar. Most contractors display their license number on their business card. If not, just ask for it.
  3. Investigate their Professional Complaint History. Always check with two agencies: The Better Business Bureau and the California Attorney General's Office to see if any complaints have been filed. This might take a little time and effort on your part but it's much better than finding out the hard way when you are filing the complaints!
  4. Examine Their Work. Ask for lists of recent and current projects so you can take a look. If the contractor has current jobs it can be a good idea to see their work in action. Ask for a list of subcontractors they use and call around to get references from the individuals your contractor employs. This can be another way to gain insight into the contractor's work ethic, and to see if they have long-standing relationships with their subs. If the concrete sub says, "Yeah, I'm the fifth company he's used in 2 years..." it's not a good sign.
  5. Trust Your Instincts. Don't dismiss your gut instincts. If a contractor comes highly praised but you don't get a good feeling during your initial interviews, do not hire him/her. Or, perhaps a contractor is lesser known in the community but you like his/her work and feel confident about how they communicate - then honor that.
Hiring a contractor requires due diligence.  However, the time and effort you make now into researching the potential candidates will be well worth it.

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