Selecting a Contractor
Most home or building owners purchase improvement and maintenance projects infrequently. Some are uncertain about how to select a competent professional contractor.
Adding to the confusion are the scores of unprofessional contractors who believe that the only way to obtain work is by being the low price. Such contractors are more concerned with obtaining work than with solving their customers’ problems.
A professional contractor will take the time to understand your needs and desires. He will ask questions and listen to your answers. He will be concerned with, and address, your situation.
The most important part of any improvement or maintenance project is selecting the contractor.
Investment or Expense?
Home improvement and maintenance are crucial to maintaining the value of your most expensive possession– your home. More than any factor, the contractor you hire will determine whether the money you spend is an investment or an expense.
Hiring a professional contractor will provide long-term performance and satisfaction. When this occurs, the costs are an investment.
Hiring a non-professional contractor can result in poor performance, premature failure, and additional costs to have the work performed properly. When this occurs, the costs are an expense.
The quality of your contractor will ultimately determine the quality of your project.
Contractor Hiring Tips
Price: In choosing the best price, make sure that you compare apples-to-apples. Compare written estimates (not verbal promises) regarding the amount of preparation, quality of materials, number of coats, etc. The lowest price is seldom the best price.
Promptness: A contractor who keeps the appointment for an estimate is more likely to arrive promptly for the job and complete the project on time.
Communications: How a contractor responds to phone calls can be an indication of your ability to contact him after the work begins. If you must wait days for a return phone call, will the same occur after the job starts?
The Estimate/Quotation: Should be professionally presented with the extent of work clearly defined. I should detail the proposed specification including preparation, number of coats, time frame for completion, maintenance and payment conditions.
References: Ask if you can see completed project or references from past clients
Gut Feeling: Ask your self the following question. Do I feel comfortable with the contractor? If you don’t, don’t accept the contractors proposal. Most of the time your gut feeling is the best indicator of them all.
Insurance:Adequate insurance is important for your protection. Ask to see a Certificate of Insurance.