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Standards You Should Have When Hiring a Contractor

While some homeowners like to think of themselves as the next Bob Vila, the majority of us can’t effectively tackle bigger home improvement projects.  With some careful preparations and the right tools and equipment, certain projects can be completed by the average DIYer, such as repainting a room or even replacing a faucet.  But a smart homeowner knows their limits and when to call in the “big guns” for a more complicated project such as gutter installation, new replacement windows, or siding installation.

But selecting the right contractor for the job can be daunting task.  A web search will turn up thousands of contractors for just about any project you can think of.  How do you weed through it all and make the best choice?


First, talk to friends and neighbors for recommendations.  If someone you know has recently completed a project similar to yours, ask who they hired, what they liked and didn’t like about the contractor, and their level of satisfaction with the final outcome.  Make a list of contractors you’re considering and check their ratings with services like the Better Business Bureau or an online ratings site.  Check with your state licensing office to make sure they are properly licensed and insured.


When you meet with a contractor, always ask for their estimate in writing.  A trustworthy company won’t hesitate to provide all the contract details in writing, including labor and material costs, estimating time to complete, and other information pertinent to the project.   The same holds true for references – a quality contractor should be more than willing to share references and samples of previous projects.  They should guarantee their work, including labor and materials, in writing.  Any warranty information should also be supplied to the homeowner in writing.


Reputable home improvement contractors will be well-versed in the codes and requirements for the job.  Professionals have invested in the quality specialized tools and equipment necessary for their area of construction.  They also know the potential dangers and risks at the job site.  An experienced home improvement company ensures all employees have the proper safety equipment, as well as making sure the job site – your home – is safe during and after the project.


Once the contractor has completed your project, they should have follow up procedures in place.  A site visit or phone call from the company afterwards is an opportunity for you to ask questions or raise any concerns you may have, or to praise the company and its workers for a job well done.  And the best praise for a company that you’ve enjoyed working with is spreading the word.  Telling your friends about them and spreading good word of mouth is worth its weight in gold to contractors.  If you’re pleased with the work they performed, pay it forward!?