Choosing a contractor for your next home improvement project can seem intimidating. You realize the project will give your home added value or even a fresh new look that could be the envy of the neighborhood. But chances are, you’ve got plenty of contractor options in your area. How do you narrow the choices to find the one that will do a quality job on time and within your budget?
The truth is, even if you’ve never attempted a home improvement project, it’s not difficult to find the right contractor. Use the following tips as a guide to help you do just that.
- Ask your neighbors, friends and co-workers for referrals. They can tell you who they trust based on their personal experience. (They may also tell you which contractors to avoid.)
- Check with the Better Business Bureau or your local consumer affairs office. For example, the Better Business Bureau has directories of accredited businesses like contractors, and you can also search for background information on contractors you are considering.
- Develop a list of potential contractors, making sure they meet the following criteria:
- They are members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI. You can search for a NARI-certified contractor at the association’s website.
- They are licensed and insured.
- Most importantly, they specialize in your project’s focus area. For example, if you’re planning to re-side your house, make sure the contractors you’re considering have proof of its expertise in that area.
- Prepare a complete description of the project and your expectations prior to meeting with any contractors. Include as much detail as possible, including budget and timetable.
- Meet with at least three insured/licensed contractors. Come to those meetings prepared with your project description and questions regarding the contractor’s experience and qualifications, and request estimates based on your project timetable.
- When you receive your estimates from those contractors, make sure they include everything you requested and that the price is based on the complete project. If not, request a revision.
When you know what to expect, you’ll have peace of mind throughout the project. Plus, prospective contractors will appreciate that you’re well-informed, which will help the project proceed smoothly.
This post comes from James Hardie Building Products a global leader in fiber cement technology, providing siding, trim and accessory product solutions to homeowners nationwide. Learn more at www.jameshardie.com/guide.