Time for a Remodel? What to Look for in a Contractor

Time for a Remodel? What to Look for in a Contractor
  • Opening Intro -

    Busy moms know how easily home renovations or repairs can fall through the cracks, especially in households with young children.

    It's not always easy -- or even practical -- to find the time to do these tasks yourself, which is where a good contractor can really come in handy.

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Your first instinct when looking for a contractor to hire is probably to ask friends and family for suggestions. While this is a great place to start, it’s helpful to know what makes one contractor stand out from the rest.

Type of Contractor

There are several types of contractors. You may want one or more depending on the project. The various contractors include: general, specialty, architect, and designer or design/build contractor. Here’s a closer look at types of contractors you might hire, with information from the Federal Trade Commission.

  • General: Manages multiple parts of a project, obtains building permits, and schedules inspections
  • Specialty contractor: Installs certain products, including bathroom fixtures and cabinets
  • Architects: Designs homes, extensive renovations, and additions
  • Design/build contractor: Combines services of architect and specialty contractor

Most contractors focus on work in their designated area, although a few may overlap. The size and complexity of the project often dictates which type of contractor you’ll need for the job. 

History and Credentials

Hiring someone to work on your house can be risky, especially if you’ve never worked with that person before. Even if a contractor comes highly recommended by friends or family members, it’s still a good idea to check the individual’s history and credentials. For best results, look for someone who’s been in business for awhile. You’ll want a properly licensed and registered contractor. According to usnews.com, you can verify this by checking on contractors-license.org or by asking your local building inspector.

Bids

The more bids you secure, the greater amount of flexibility you’ll have when it comes to figuring out the best overall deal for the money. Additionally, a higher number of bids gives you a clearer idea of how each contractor (or company) stands up against competitors. You might just find that the contractor offering the lowest bid won’t do as much work as the contractor whose bid is higher.

Insurance

Contractor insurance is another essential when you’re seeking a contractor for hire. Popular types of contractor insurance policies include general liability, equipment coverage, and contractor bonds. There are also many types of policies offered for contractors, ranging from worker’s comp, equipment coverage, architect & engineer, contractor bonds, and more. Check to ensure that your contractor is properly insured before hiring him for the job.

Details

Before the work begins, scan the contract closely and make note of any important contract details. Items to look for include start and completion dates, information regarding applicable building permits and fees, payment terms, and a clear description of products and services that will be provided by the contractor.

As you can see, there’s more to simply asking around for the best contractor. Aside from finding the right type, you’ll also want to check the potential hire for a strong history and credentials. It’s crucial to secure several bids and keep a close eye on the contract details. You’ll want a contractor with proper insurance as well.

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