Selecting the Right Contractor

there are many contractors

Your challenge is to select the right contractor by doing a little homework on your part. Make sure to check their business membership and references. Select a contractor who understands what you want to accomplish within your budgeted price range.

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contract negotiations

Start with a Pre-Screen Search

First and foremost, begin your search using a pre-screened network of home remodeling contractors and service professionals.

HomeAdvisor maintains a rating system submitted by previous customers on various contractors and service professionals. You may view this rating system prior to selecting your contractor.

HomeAdvisor will also guarantee the service. That is the assurance you need to make sure the project is done correctly.

select area of service needed - pre-qualified home contractor search

Additions-Remodels Bathrooms Cleaning & Maid Services
Appliances Cabinets & Countertops Concrete, Brick & Stone
Appraisers Carpentry Decks & Porches
Architects - Inspectors Carpet Driveways, Patios & Walks

drywall - home security

Drywall & Insulation Flooring & Hardwood Heating & Cooling
Electrical & Computers Garage, Doors, Openers Home Interior Services
Exterior Home Services General Contractors Home Theater
Fences Handyman Services Home Security-Automation

kitchen - yard & garden

Kitchens Plumbing Tile & Stone
Landscape Remodels Walls & Ceiling
Lawncare & Sprinklers Roofing & Gutters Windows & Doors
Painting & Staining Siding Yard & Garden
Pest Control Swimming Pools & Spas Other Services

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contract negotiations

Make Sure of NARI or NAHB Membership

Investigate if your contractor is a member of key national associations

Two key associations:

1) the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)

2) National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

  • these Associations represent building and remodeling contractors, product manufacturers, and other industry specialists
  • these associations are committed to enhancing the professionalism of the home building/remodeling industry
  • members must abide by a standard code of ethics: view NARI code of ethics
  • NARI certification includes exams and certification classes

More information about the NARI / NAHB:

contact the chapter within your area for information about a potential contractor

visit NARI.org | visit NAHB.org

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contract negotiations

Investigate Their Established Business

Check the contractor's place of business, phone number, and other industry associations —

  • make sure they are valid establishments
  • make sure the contractor is fully licensed with local and state governments, if required
  • check with your local jurisdiction to ensure the license is valid and up-to-date — do not base the contractor's license with a business card or verbal commitment
  • lookup state, county and city governments for information on the contractor's license:
    www.statelocalgov.net
  • make sure the contractor is fully insured and carries worker's compensation, liability insurance and property damage insurance — ask to review the documentation

Check with your local Better Business Bureaus, building associations, and other consumer protection agencies:

view the Better Business Bureau

ensure that there is no outstanding complaints, fines, or penalties issued against the contractor — if so, make sure the contractor provides a valid explanation

you can view more information about selecting your contractor:
from the national association of the remodeling industry

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contract negotiations

Interview the Contractor

Meet with the contractor face-to-face.

Be prepared to show drawings, specifications, and clippings from illustrations and products

discussion on assembling your project specifications (under our remodeling step section)
see project specifications plan

Be detail in your specs

  • This increases the likelihood that the contractor is the right person for the job.
  • Be prepared to ask questions about the contractor and your project — note that you are looking for the person with best all-around service and qualification

Sample questions include:

— business establishment
— time frame
— operation policy
— certifications and permits
— insurance
— crew and use of subcontractors
— review of sample projects
— other

the NARI has a complete list of interview questions:
view interview questions

NARI also provides a summary of "warning signs" during interviews

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contract negotiations

Check References

Request references from previous clients.

Contact these references to inquiry on the contractors work habits, completion schedule, clean up, and any other related issues or problems that the previous client may have experienced

sample questions to ask —

question:
did the home contractor complete the home contractor project within your satisfaction?

question:
was the project completed on time?

question:
did the contractor fulfill his or her part of the contract?

question:
was the contractor easy to communicate with?

question:
did the contractor and his crew showed up on time?

question:
were you satisfied with the subcontractors that your contractor used?

question:
would you recommend this contractor again without hesitation?

the NARI has a complete list of interview questions:
view interview questions

NARI also provides a summary of "warning signs" during interviews

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Helpful Tools

Some helpful forms to select and manage contractors:

contractor evaluation form
selecting contractor form
working w/ contractor form
managing contractor form

 

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