When you’re ready to start building the home of your dreams, you’ll need to hire a contractor to do the work. But how can you be sure that the contractor you choose is reliable and trustworthy? As with most transactions, it’s important to seek advice from other people who have used their services in the past before making any hiring decisions. Here are five tips to help you vet contractors before hiring them to be confident about your choice and avoid any surprises along the way.
1) Ask for referrals
Ask people you trust for their contractor recommendations. Word of mouth is still one of your best routes to discovering a quality contractor, so ask your friends, family and co-workers for referrals. Your trusted sources can help you find contractors who have done work in similar spaces and jobs, which means they will better understand what kind of project you’re working on. Also, make sure you ask if they had a positive experience with their contractors and what led them to choose them.
2) Ask About Licenses and Insurance
If a contractor doesn’t have his or her license and insurance info readily available on request, stay away! Documentation not easily available could be a sign of bigger problems. Don’t hire contractors who don’t know about licensing—it shows a lack of experience.
Ask your contractor to provide you with proof of insurance and licensing before they start working on your project. This will let you verify that they have their credentials, making you feel more confident about their qualifications.
3) Do an in-person consultation
Part of knowing whether a contractor is right for you is understanding his or her level of experience. So, before hiring a contractor, see if you can get references or speak with previous clients. If possible, walk through your prospective hires’ previous work and find out why they liked working with them. You should also meet them in person. Meeting in person gives you a chance to check out their work ethic and personality—two things that are crucial for business relationships.
4) Request Multiple Bids from Different Companies
If you’re trying to find a contractor, consider requesting bids from multiple companies and researching their respective reputations. By requesting bids from several companies and comparing their rates, you can find someone who fits your budget without sacrificing quality.
Getting many bids from different companies doesn’t mean you should immediately award your business to whoever is cheapest. When comparing bids, make sure you research each company and consider all potential factors such as
- What do they specialize in?
- How long have they been in business?
- What sort of experience do they have?
- Do they offer any guarantees or warranties on their work?
- Do they provide references or testimonials from past clients?
By asking yourself these questions and researching, you can find a contractor that fits your budget without sacrificing quality.
5) Always Check Out Online Reviews
It might sound obvious, but a simple Google search can give you crucial insight into a contractor’s work. Look for an overall score on sites like Angi and Yelp and comments from former clients. If it looks like past customers have had a problem with poor quality of work or customer service, that should raise an immediate red flag. Don’t forget about their social media profiles! They can contain helpful reviews as well.
If reviews are overwhelmingly positive, that’s a good sign—but take it with a grain of salt. Also, if you spot any patterns of bad customer service or poor-quality work in reviews, be sure to ask more specific questions about those points when meeting with contractors.
With a little bit of time and research, you can ensure that your contractor is legit. The last thing you want to do is hire someone who might take advantage of you or your money. These tips will help you decide which contractors are right for your project and avoid expensive pitfalls along the way. Be smart with your money, know what to look for in a contractor and protect yourself in every way possible before making any financial commitments. If you feel a contractor is not upholding the agreed upon contract for services or the work that has been done is problematic, Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg, LLC in Libertyville, Illinois offers complimentary consultations to review your situation and assess if you may have a legal case. Contact us at 847-549-0600.
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