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Choosing a Good Contractor
Choosing a Good Contractor
Every year thousands of homeowners hire professional home improvement contractors. Using an experienced contractor might seem more expensive than doing it yourself, but the time (and aggravation) saved by allowing a professional to step in is often worth the price. Do your homework, find the right contractor, and your story is sure to have a happy ending.
A contractor cannot offer high quality results at a bargain basement price! It is impossible for someone to come into your home promising the world and not charge you accordingly. Many people every year are lured into this kind of sham only to be left with a disappointing and frustrating result; you get what you pay for, good or bad.
Perhaps the best way to find a good contractor is to ask around. Successful word of mouth advertising starts with satisfied customers, and you can learn a lot about a contractor from his or her past clients! Of course, customers are also not shy about telling you who to stay away from, if you keep hearing horror stories about the same company, steer clear!
Ask your sources the following questions:
Did the contractor do quality work?
Your definition of quality and your friend’s might differ. Ask if you can take a look at the finished job. Check the areas around windows, doors, wall lines and trim. Are all the lines straight? Did the drywall turn out nicely with no lumps or joint lines? Proper preparation and attention to detail are important elements of a good looking, long lasting renovation.
Did the contractor protect surfaces or areas?
For exterior work, a good contractor will cover concrete, roofing, railings and plantings. Indoors, furniture and floors should be well-protected from errant sawdust, drywall and paint splatters.
Was the contractor polite and pleasant to work with?
This is more important than it seems. It’s important to find a contractor you communicate well with and feel comfortable around. A courteous demeanor is a hallmark of professionalism and will save you unnecessary stress. Also, a contractor who is enthusiastic about his or her job is more likely to do a good job than one who is burned out and just in it for the paycheck.
Did the work start (and finish) in a timely fashion?
Good contractors will let you know their planned schedule in advance, and do their best to stick to it. Look for a contractor who will arrive at a reasonable time every morning. Just remember that exterior jobs can be affected by the weather; don’t hold a bad rainstorm or unseasonably cold temperatures against your contractor!
Is a warranty included?
A warranty only has value if it is in writing and extends for a reasonable period- three years is acceptable. Any limitations or exclusions should be explicitly spelled out in the warranty policy.