Summer is the season for home improvement projects. Thanks to an ever-improving economy, more homeowners will be remodeling their homes this summer than ever before. If you’re one of those homeowners considering a home improvement project this summer, then keep in mind these five tips for making sure you don’t hire the wrong contractor.
1. Research 5-10 potential companies. When looking to hire a contractor you want to start out with a fairly large pool. You can start narrowing down your list by finding out how many years of experience is and what their reputation is in the community.
2. Get three written estimates. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to three companies, you need to ask for a written estimate from each of them. This will allow you to compare costs and timelines. Don’t automatically go with the lowest bid. Be wary of estimates that are significantly lower or higher than the others.
3. Verify that the company has the proper license and insurance. Most communities require contractors to have a license and to be registered with the city to do the type of work they do. Also, professional contractors will carry insurance that protects your property should they accidentally damage it in any way.
4. Insist on a payment schedule. Never pay 100% up front. Hold back at least 10% until the job is completely finished to your satisfaction.
5. Make sure the contract includes a termination clause. A professional contractor will have you sign a contract before work begins. Refuse to sign unless there is a termination clause that allows you to back out if the terms (such as the payment schedule or deadlines) aren’t being met.
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