11 Tips for Choosing a Home Improvement Contractor

Home Improvement Contractor

You should have a list of questions prepared before meeting with home improvement contractors. This will help you get the most out of your interview and make it easier to compare candidates.

You should check to see whether a contractor specializes in your type of project. It’s also important to ensure they have the right insurances and, depending on your project, specific certifications.

1. Reputation

A contractor’s reputation is key for home improvement services. Most homeowners will be particular about who they hire to perform work on their property. They will request references and verify licensing and insurance before making any payments.

The best contractors come highly recommended by satisfied customers. Reputation Builder makes it easy to collect 5-star reviews from your happy clients through text, kiosk or email.

2. Experience

Experience can be a deciding factor when choosing the right home improvement contractor. A good contractor should have a portfolio that includes finished projects. Look out for contractors who include only the final product without showing any work that was done before or during the remodel.

Home improvement contractors should also provide financial references – such as banks or suppliers – and detail the scope of their work. This can help to avoid unexpected costs.

3. Insurance

A home improvement contractor with a reputable insurance policy can offer you peace of mind. It also protects you if something goes wrong during your remodel.

Ask your contractors to show you proof of their insurance. Those who refuse or take too long to provide the information should be crossed off your list. Make sure you notify your insurance agent about the renovation, as well.

4. License

Many localities require contractors to hold a license for work that is performed on residential buildings or properties. In New York, anyone who contracts to build, repair, remodel, add to or improve a single-family home must hold a license.

Using one contractor for the entire job can lead to better scheduling efficiencies and a more seamless experience overall. This can also help you avoid any miscommunications or misunderstandings that may occur between different contractors.

5. Referrals

The contractor you hire can make or break your home improvement project. Narrow down the list of contractors to interview by requesting photos and past client references.

Be wary of any contractor who won’t provide referrals or pooh-poohs your request for them. It’s likely that they are hiding something.

When reviewing references, eliminate contractors who only include their best work in their portfolios or have grainy before and after pictures.

6. Portfolio

The portfolio a contractor offers shows the type of work they do and their level of skill. Look for a portfolio that aligns with what you are looking to have done in your home.

Getting a loan through your contractor may help get the project started sooner because contractors are already familiar with GreenSky’s lending process and can quickly determine if you qualify for funding.

7. Pricing

The price of a home improvement project can vary greatly. A good contractor will have a reasonable price and provide high-quality work.

Be wary of contractors that offer extremely low prices or ask for upfront payment. You should get multiple estimates and compare pricing. Also, consider the cost of materials in comparison to quality and durability. For example, a more expensive material may be worth the investment in the long run.

8. Schedule

Contractor availability can affect how quickly your project is completed. Make sure your home improvement contractor will be available for site visits and meetings and will have the time to take on your project.

After a thorough consultation, contractors should draft a contract proposal with a detailed timeline, materials and cost. Ask about the scope of the work and be aware of any hidden fees.

9. Reputation

Homeowners are highly selective about whom they work with to perform their remodeling and improvement projects. Many have horror stories to share about contractors who pocket deposits or complete only a portion of the contracted work.

A great reputation can help a contractor win more business. Everyone from subcontractors to suppliers prefer to do business with those who are known for keeping their word.

10. Experience

A reputable contractor will be able to provide you with a contract detailing all aspects of your project. They will also be able to provide you with a clear process for communicating any issues that may arise during your project.

Be wary of contractors who only allow a short time to accept their bids, and check their online portfolio for examples of quality work. Look for photos of before and after projects that are up to your standards.