Finding the right contractor for your project can be a challenge. You heard all these horror stories of overpaying, crew not showing up, or they don’t call you back for days. How do you know the company is reliable and will do the job right? How can you be sure that you’re not just throwing your money out the window?
We understand that spending much money on major repairs can make you, as a homeowner, sweat a little. You want to be sure you are investing your hard-earned money into quality that will last many years. To make this decision process a little easier, we prepared a list of questions you can ask your contractor before you commit and sign the contract.
What is the size of the company?
The size of the company doesn’t always matter, but you should consider the type of project you are hiring a company for. Is it a one-or two-man job like tiling a bathroom, or does it require an entire crew of people for a project such as a roof replacement? Companies with at least a few employees working in dedicated roles are usually better prepared to deal with projects on a larger scale.
How long has the contractor been in business?
Consider how long a contractor has been in business. What’s more important ishow long they have been doing the work they proposed. Just because a contractor has been in business for thirty years doesn’t mean this is what they’ve specialized in the whole time.
Is the company licensed?
Make sure the company that you’re considering has a license. Contractors who are serious about their work and have been in business for many years will have a license. It’s required by the state of Tennessee, and don’t let any eloquent salesman tell you otherwise. Holding a license proves the company has met the industry’s standards and maintains those standards to uphold the license.By hiring a licensed professional, you are avoiding certain risks in the quality of the work and sometimes legal and financial consequences.Licensed contractors make sure everything is up to local codes and can acquire the necessary permits needed for the job.
What kind of warranty is offered?
The best contractors stand behind their workwith some warranty. The warranty should be transferrable to future ownersand be warrantied directly by the company, not only by the manufacturer. The warranty shouldn’t include annual fees unless maintenance is included. Be definitive on the warranty period–what does “lifetime” mean anyway?What happens if the business changes its legal name? Read all the fine printand ask questions.
How long does it take for a project to be completed?
Watch out for contractors who show up the first day, start the work, and disappear for weeks. Some companies promise they can begin immediately to beat the competition, take your deposit, do a little work, and don’t show up the next day. Then there is nothing else homeowners can do but wait and hope the crew will reappear and finish their work. Read the reviewswhere previous clientsshare their experience with the company you’re consideringto avoid this unpleasant situation.
There is more to consider and watch out for! The quality always hides in the details.
Attitude and communication of the company’s representative matter.
You can tell if a company cares about its customers by the way the representatives communicate with you. They should beresponsive and communicateclearly.If the person on the phone was rude to you, the salespersondidn’t email you the estimate in the timely manner he promised,or they haven’t returned your call in several days, imagine how this company would communicate with you if there was a problem. Little details matter; the best contractors will be professional, punctual, and polite.
Is the company accredited?
Depending on your state, contractors need a license to charge money forservices, soverify an active license with the state.To obtain accreditation, a business has to meet high-quality standards set by an accredited organization. Search the company on Better Business Bureau, Trustdale, or HomeAdvisor, to name a few, and if it shows in their search, you can have confidence thatthe company you’re considering has been verified by the accrediting agency.
Read the reviews –what experience did previous customers have?
Do a little research and see what previous customers said about the company you’re considering. You can find them on the company’s site, Google, BBB, Angi’s List, and other platforms. A happy customer will most likely leave a review. On the other hand, unhappy customers don’t hesitate to leave a negative review to warn others to stay awayfrom the contractor. It’s important to see what exactly happened and how the company reacted to negative feedback. Did the company ignore the customer complaining or did they admit they made a mistake and try their best to correct it? Read the reviews and the company’s responses carefully.
Last, but not least, one of the most important decision-making point for most homeowners is pricing. It’s always good to get several opinions and estimates from different companies to compare the pricing and all the points mentioned above.
Remember that nothing comes for free and that quality is worth paying for. Most contractors will match bids from other contractors, so don’t be afraid to ask a contractor you like, who gave you a higher bid, if they could go down with the price.
However, be careful of anyone who offers you a dramatically lower bid! Contractors who offer significantly lower bids will likely take shortcuts along the way.
Martina Brindley –Marketing Coordinator, Klaus Roofing Systems of Nashville