Sooner or later, every homeowner has to face the prospect of making home improvements. It could be a cracked foundation, leaky roof, crumbling plumbing, or some other form of property deterioration, the result is the same: repairs and replacements are essential for protecting your family as well as your biggest investment.
While those with the skills and experience are encouraged to do home repairs themselves, the rest of us are better off hiring an expert to get the job done right. However, finding and hiring the right contractor is easier said than done. With this in mind, let’s take a look at seven tips for hiring home improvement contractors:
Check The Credentials
Most home improvement projects require specific skills and expertise to be done correctly as well as safely. Ask to see a contractor’s credentials before hiring them for a home improvement project. Start with safety. A home improvement contractor should have OSHA 30 certification while anyone working for them should have at least OSHA 10. Once their safety record is confirmed, move on to ensure they’re properly licensed for whatever type of work they’re hired to perform, such as plumbing or roofing.
Read Home Improvement Contractor Reviews
Most home improvement contractors will have multiple online reviews you can read to see what prior clients have said. If there are no available reviews, ask for at least two references. While a single bad review shouldn’t disqualify someone from working on your house, a pattern of negative feedback should be interpreted as a red flag.
Get Rates On Home Improvement Projects
When asked what he thought about while waiting on the launchpad, astronaut Alan Shepard famously said, “The fact every part of this ship was built by the lowest bidder.” Similarly, homeowners need to keep in mind the relationship between a product’s price and a product’s quality. While the cheapest option can get the job done, it doesn’t always mean the savings are worth what you’re missing.
Get it in writing
Formal contracts should always be a part of any business transaction where significant sums of money are exchanged for crucial products and services. Luckily, you don’t need a lawyer to come up with a legally binding contract. Plenty of templates exist online for you and your contractor to sign together.
Prepare For the Home Improvement Project
The plumbing contractor isn’t responsible for finding you a replacement shower while working on your master bathroom. It’s on you to prepare for the disruptions that come with a significant home improvement project. From parking to sleeping, stop and consider how everyday things you take for granted could be thrown off by the project and make plans to maintain normalcy as much as possible.
Keep accurate records
In addition to copies of contracts, it’s a good idea to get copies of receipts, permits, and other documents. Ask your contractor for the original documents whenever possible. It might also behoove you to take photos of the project as it progresses in the event of malpractice on the part of the contractor or any subcontractors under their employ. Such documentation benefits everyone involved.
Go with your gut
You can’t go wrong with going with your gut. While instincts about others aren’t always correct, homeowners can’t afford to take a chance on someone if they’re not convinced of their credentials or confident in their abilities. The pool of candidates is too great to settle for anything less than a contractor you feel good about going forward.
Sooner or later, whether your home is newly built or a century old, you’re going to face necessary repairs and improvements. Unless you happen to have experience with home improvement projects, the best option is to hire a contractor to get the job done on your behalf. Finding the right one will prove critical.