Sometimes repairs to your home that have been on your need-to-do list become urgent. When this happens, a lot of people immediately hire a contractor to take care of the necessary work. As it would turn out, this can prove to be a sizable mistake that ends up costing you more than it should have.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to do whatever you can to just avoid the headache altogether and to do that you can’t go rushing into a repair job. To save time and money, there are a few important factors to consider before hiring a contractor.
Be Sure to Check for Insurance and Licenses
As I already mentioned, you don’t want to end up eating any medical or damage expenses at the cost of hiring an unlicensed contractor. If an accident were to occur onsite and the contractor doesn’t have coverage, it will be you, the homeowner, who is liable for the damages. Bonding is also important as it’s there to protect you from expensive costs in the case that repairs are needed to rectify a contractor’s poor workmanship. Contractors are required by state laws to hold certain licenses, and in the case of work being done by an unlicensed contractor, it could prevent the work completed from being approved by the state, and inspectors can halt further progress from taking place.
This is an oftentimes looked-over step missed by homeowners looking to hire. The contractor you choose may outsource certain aspects of his work to subcontractors. This isn’t a big deal, in fact, it’s rather common and doesn’t typically present a problem. With that said, you should be aware that subcontractors used by your contractor must also be properly insured and licensed, because of the same reasons mentioned above. This is why it’s a good idea for you to routinely check in with your contractor on their subcontracting agreements and talk with them directly if you can, to ensure that everything is on the up and up. You could inquire about whether they’re being compensated for their time and materials. This is important because any unpaid balances can end up being your responsibility in the end.
Read Over Any Contracts or Agreements Carefully
Just like it is with any legally binding contract, it’s detrimental that you not only thoroughly read over it but that you also understand the entire contents of it before you sign. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your contract pricing is itemized and that it doesn’t seem to be creating charges or time required to perform work. Don’t be afraid to ask for detailed timelines to be present in your contract.
Generally, you should never accept the first bid offered to you. A lot of times it’s better to usually get 3-5 estimates from various contractors which will help you weigh your options and make the best possible decision based on your situation and budget. This is also an important step to make sure you choose the contractor that will provide the best possible work.
Read Reviews and Check Recommendations
When you need to learn something quickly, the best option is usually to perform an online search. The internet makes it incredibly simple to check reviews and backgrounds on contractors, all with a few clicks. You may find yourself tempted to go with a friend or relative’s experience with a particular contractor, but their opinion might not stack up with the masses. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to look, which is why I recommend utilizing online review sites to check out the experiences of previous customers. You’ll be able to see pleased customers with positive experiences and if they have any exceptionally negative experiences with unsatisfied customers. Don’t be hesitant to ask any prospective contractor for references, because a good one should be able to easily list a few.
Rely on Your Instincts
When you’re conducting your research on the best possible contractors, don’t let any red flags you come across slip through the cracks. Take note of how the contractor communicates and look for any inconsistencies in their behavior or the information they are telling you. There are an alarming amount of scammers out there and in any business that makes money, there will oftentimes be someone trying to run a scam related to it. If something tells you that it’s just not right, then it’s probably just not right. Trust your gut, your wallet will thank you.