If you want to find a contractor, your search can be as short or as lengthy as you choose to make it. For those homeowners who don’t want to spend a lot of time doing their research, you can just choose someone at random from the phone book. Of course, this is not the best idea. The phone book carries with it no guarantees as it pertains to quality and integrity. You don’t need to make finding someone to remodel your kitchen a full time job, but you should be willing to put some effort into it. After all, a home improvement project is only as good as your results. Here are three essential tips to help you make a good choice.
License and Insurance
Before you find a contractor, you need to make sure they are-at the very least-operating within the confines of your local laws. Someone handy with a hammer can’t just up and call themselves a contracting company one day. There are strict local, state, and federal laws regarding what a company needs to be able to take on jobs of this stature. These laws include getting the proper licenses, getting the necessary liability insurance, and posting a surety bond to cover them financially in case of a damages dispute with a homeowner. Make sure these basics are covered.
References and Referrals
If you want to find a contractor you can trust, the best place to start is with personal recommendations and referrals. Failing the ability to find these from the people you know, check for online reviews. This is a relatively new avenue for homeowners to find someone who can work on their home. Nothing speaks as loudly or as truthfully as word of mouth advertising. This is why it is such a treasured component of any business’s reputation. Just as importantly, you need to make sure anyone you’re thinking of hiring can provide at least three references in the form of past customers.
In a best case scenario, you want to find a contractor who has been doing business in your area for a long time. What’s a long time? Depends. There is certainly some room for personal interpretation. Generally speaking, however, you should prefer to hire someone who has been in business for twenty years over someone who just opened up shop a couple of years ago. All things being equal, longevity should certainly win out. A new company isn’t automatically a red flag, but you’ll have to be even more thorough when it comes to researching their reputation.