Hiring a Contractor

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If you are hiring a contractor for your home improvement projects, here is a guide to help you select a quality home improvement contractor.

Before talking to any contractors, create a budget for your project. Without a budget you are flying blind and may end up over spending. Having a tight budget also helps you make decisions about what kind of fixtures and materials to purchase. Most products have a wide price range and having a budget helps keep you in line when making buying decisions.

After you have your budget, get three written estimates from three different contractors so that you can compare prices. Be sure each estimate is complete; a “written” estimate on the back of a business card is not a sign of a good contractor. Reliableremodeler.com is a great free service that will help you get free estimates from quality contractors.

Take the time to talk with each contractor and get a feel for which one you will be most comfortable working with and having in your home. Be sure and pay attention to things like who shows up on time and who is prepared to talk about your project. A contractor who shows up late to your appointment is likely to show up late when working on your project.

While you are in the process of hiring a contractor, make sure they have the proper license, insurance, and bonding. Working with a contractor who isn’t licensed or doesn’t have the proper insurance might come back to haunt you. A good contractor will show you copies of these documents when presenting your written estimate.

The next step is to check the references of the contractor you are considering. Be sure to ask specific questions about the person’s experience with the contractor. “Did the contractor show up on time?” “Did the contractor clean up after themselves?” If you want to be more aggressive, you can ask the contractor for the names and numbers of their last three jobs and call those instead of their handpicked references. This will provide a more realistic overview of the contractor’s daily work habits and skills.

The last step is to hire your contractor and have them give you a timeline for the completion of the project to help ensure your project is completed in a timely manner.  Get help hiring a contractor.

Updated: July 5, 2013 — 10:48 pm

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