John Finan, from Finan Home Service shares seven tips from his Hiring a Contractor Handbook.
Tip #1: Ensure the Contractor is Experienced & Knowledgeable
Make sure that the contractor knows and has performed the work you are asking their company to perform. This may sound obvious however it is surprising how often a second contractor with more experience has to be called in to complete someone else’s work. This usually costs more because the second contractor generally has to repair the efforts of the first then go ahead and complete the job.
Tip #2 Talk to More than One Contractor
Opinions vary from person to person, company to company. The work that you wish to have performed can sometimes be done in several different manners. If you have only talked to one contractor about it then you have only got one professional opinion to go by. By talking to more than one contractor you get far more information on which to base a decision.
Tip #3 Expect the Unexpected
It is rare that a job goes exactly as it was planned. When the contractor runs into the something unexpected or unforseen he will let you know. You and he should then figure out how to deal with it jointly. He may be able to give you some options that you may not have thought of on your own, he is after all the professional.
Tip #4 Get it in Writing
Make sure that the warranty is put in writing. This is again something that should be taken care of during your negotiations before the job starts. If you have agreed upon a specific warranty, make sure that it is in writing. Also make sure that the starting date and completion date of the warranty are in writing. Then should there be any concerns with the job within the warranty period there will at least be no question about what time periods are covered.
Tip #5 Get References
The contractor should be able to give you the names, addresses, and phone numbers of at least three clients who have projects similar to yours. Ask each how long ago the project was completed and if you can see it. Also, tell the contractor that you’d like to visit jobs in progress.
Tip #6 Appropriate Insurance is Key
Contractors should have personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they’re current. Avoid doing business with contractors who don’t carry the appropriate insurance. Otherwise, you’ll be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.
Tip #7 Educate Yourself
Visit Finan Home Service at the Home & Outdoor Show, April 21-23 to get your copy of John Finan’s Hiring a Contractor Handbook for more tips, tricks and advice.