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Before You Hire A Contractor

Posted by Amber Burkhart at



Investigate. Do your research. Hiring a contractor for a home project is a big deal regardless of if your project is grand or small. Doing your research and learning as much as you can will help you to choose just the right contractor.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of horror stories about contractors that include poorly done home renovations, damaged property, and law suits against homeowners. This being said, there are plenty of respectable, hard-working, honest contractors out there that are ready to help you complete your home projects. You just need to do your part in finding them by investigating and asking the right questions.

Don’t hire the first contractor you come across in the phone book or online. Take your time and read the reviews. You can learn a lot from reviews, but make sure to take note of what they say. Some people will complain about anything and everything, but look for solid reviews with honest and reasonable feedback.

Call around to get personalized quotes for your project. Even if you speak to a contractor that has all the right answers, don’t pull the trigger just yet. Be honest and let them know that you are comparing prices and that you will let them know when you have made a decision. Keep diligent and detailed notes for each contractor that you speak with, helping you to make the best informed decision. Also, include notes on how they interact with you, such as being impatient or happy to help. This may seem silly, but if they are not even on their best behavior for the sell, how will they treat you once you’ve hired them?

You should only hire contractors that are licensed. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but most require contractors to go through training and education programs in order to obtain and keep a license. When calling around to get quotes ask for the license number. You can then do a search to validate that their license is legal and up to date.  Any contractor who in unwilling to provide their license number should raise a red flag. You should avoid hiring any contractor who refuses to provide a license number as they may not even have a license. Hiring an unlicensed contractor can be a very costly mistake.

Make sure that they are both insured and bonded. These terms are not synonymous. In the case of contractors, “bonded” means that the contractor has money in a third party institution in the event of litigation. “Insured” means that they have a business insurance policy in the event of an on-site injury.

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