There is a sense of pride and joy that comes with homeownership, but it also comes with the cost of payments, repairs, and maintenances. When you need a contractor, the last thing you want to deal with is poor workmanship, unprofessionalism, and or unfinished projects in your home.
There are many qualified contractors with excellent track records, but finding the wrong contractor can be a costly and a frustrating experience. Here are a few general guidelines that will help find the right contractor for you:
1. Do Your Home Work
Start by asking family and friends for information on contractors who have provided work for them. Ask them if the process worked smoothly and went according to plan? What are some things to expect during the process? You can also ask potential contractors for references, then, check out those references. Also, be sure that contractor carries the necessary credentials, insurance, and licenses to do business in your state.
2. Meet in Person
Schedule an in-home consultation, visit an office, or attend a local home show to meet the owners and staff. Listen to your instincts. Do you feel they communicate well and answer your questions? Are they professional and punctual? A trained professional will have these characteristics.
3. Get Everything in Writing
During the process, many things may have been discussed or revised. Verbal discussions are not binding in business, so be sure to document and receive everything in writing.
4. Be Courteous
A little bit of kindness can go a long way in expediting the completion of your project. If you are not satisfied, be sure to inform your project manager of any grievances. Understand that they are hardworking people and things will happen during the process. A reputable contractor will work for your satisfaction and make things right.
There are those who are not reputable, and their only concern may be getting your money, leaving you with unfinished or poorly done projects. Here are some commons scams to be aware:
5. Requiring Upfront Payments in Full
Never pay your contractor the full amount before your project is complete as you never know when you will see them again or finish the project. In some states, it is illegal to charge the full amount, as to prevent fraud.
6. Bait and Switch
There are a few non-professionals that will underbid competitors, but later increase the price for “unforeseen” issues. Chances are it may be due to inexperience and they have run out of money in the middle of the project. If that is the case, you may need to hire a different contractor.
7. Bargain Deal for Unused/Extra Materials
This is a common tactic that uses a “fear of loss” against people. It starts with someone appearing at your doorstep offering a deal on a project. They will say they have completed a job nearby and noticed you may need repairs. Also, they have extra materials for cheap and can begin the project immediately. This may sound good, but usually results in poor quality and may require a new contractor to fix.
Most contractors are honest, hardworking individuals that want to earn your business and appreciate the fact that you are seeking quality workmanship. If you do your due diligence and follow your instincts, you will have a higher chance of satisfaction.