Hiring a Contractor

Sometimes it makes sense to hire a pro rather than take on a job yourself. But choosing the wrong contractor can lead to delays, sub par work, and even legal problems. These guidelines will help you choose a professional contractor and ensure a good working relationship.


Go with Your Gut

The biggest thing is choosing the right contractor. If somebody says something that’s even an embellishment, it’s enough of a reason not to trust him and move on to the next contractor. You have to trust the contractor 100 percent.


Make Sure the Contractor is Licensed

Having a license and insurance demonstrates a contractor’s credibility and knowledge; it shows that contractors have taken an exam and proved they know building codes and processes.


Pick a Contractor Who Specializes in Your Project Type

It’s important to research contractors to know if they have experience in a type of project, Today; so many projects are regulated and code-specific that you want someone who knows the details of what’s required.


Have a Detailed Contract in Place Before any Work Begins

The contract should cover costs, brands of items being installed, approximate start and finish dates, and the complete set of drawings being used with written specifications.


Find out Who’s Performing the Work

Will the person you’re hiring do the work himself, or will it be subcontracted to someone else? It’s nice to know who will be showing up on your doorstep, and large jobs like additions and major kitchen remodels often involve multiple subcontractors, such as electricians and plumbers. General contractors often subcontract specialty jobs, like roofing or vinyl siding, to other pros.


Give the Contractor Guidelines for Working In or Around Your Home

If you don’t want the workers showing up before a certain time, staying past a certain hour, using your bathroom, or you need to have the project finished by a specific date, tell the contractor before you hire him.


Ask About a Mechanic’s Lien

Under the mechanic’s lien laws in some states, anyone who worked on or supplied materials to your project and is not paid can place a lien on your home. This means that even if you pay your contractor, but he doesn’t pay the lumberyard for your materials, you can be liable for that bill. “It’s important for homeowners to understand the lien laws in their state because they vary from state to state.


Look at Work Samples

This lets you see a contractor’s handiwork and may spark ideas for your project. “Samples are more important than references; they allow you to see the quality of our work. You can see the designs they came up with and how creative they are.


Think Locally

Area contractors who have been in business for a long time are usually reliable and safe bets for projects. If they didn’t do good work in your community, they wouldn’t still be around. The company is involved in the community, the workers are probably local, and if you have a problem later, a local contractor is going to be on top of it.


October 8, 2014