If you have recently found that you have a leak in your home or if you would just like some minor renovations done, you will want to find the right contractor to do the job. You’ll want to hire a contractor that you can trust to do a good job and that will do the job for a fair price.

Your home is the most prized and valued investment that you own, and no homeowner wants someone coming in to it and doing a less than favorable job while ripping you off in the process. Just because someone says that they’re qualified, doesn’t mean they actually are. Some contractors in the business try to take advantage of the homeowner, especially during times where a disaster has occurred. A contractor could come to the door and say there are in the area because of the disaster, but will then take off after they get the money, not finishing the job adequately.

Here are some steps to help you choose the right contractor for the job:

Before you make a fast hiring decision, talk to several local contractors and get at least three bids. It is essential to have contractors assess the property before making an offer so that the bids can be as accurate as possible. To get a top notch comparison, make sure that the bids are identical in their plans, all the way down to such specifics as what brand materials will be used. Also, check websites such as Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau to see if the company has any complaints filed against them. If they do, you will want to make sure that they are resolved. Even though you may hear of a great contractor from someone you trust, you will also want to look at online customer reviews.

It is important that you don’t go with the lowest estimate just because you don’t want to pay more.  If two bids are the exact same and one is really low, you may want to ask yourself why. They may provide you with not so good materials or may tell you that you need more services down the road. A good contractor will supply you with a list of references, but odds are those clients will only have good things to say. A better way to judge a contractors quality of work is to visit one of their current job sites. You should consider asking the homeowner if the contractor is reliable and responsive to them.

There are a large number of scammers who try and pose as contractors, and homeowners should always be on alert.  Here are some warning signs that your contractor may just be a scammer:

  • They pressure you to hire them quickly
  • If they only accept cash (this usually means he’s trying to avoid paying taxes)
  • Doesn’t want to deal with a building permit (any major home improvement project legally needs one)
  • Goes door to door advertising services (some reliable contractors do this, but check to see if they’re local)
  • If they try to cut you a deal using materials left over from another project
  • Quote a final price without seeing the job first

Next you will want to confirm the licensing and insurance. If your state licenses contractors, which most do, you can usually do an online license check. As for the insurance, you can check the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website that will show you what insurance requirements are for your state so you’ll know just what to look for.

Updated: October 23, 2014 — 2:50 pm

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