Hiring a Contractor

Summer time is a great time to get those home improvement projects accomplished, or even finally add on that garage. But, hiring a contractor to do the work can be a risky proposition. There are literally hundreds of contractors who work in the Huntington-Charleston, WV area. So where do you start?

Here are a few guidlines to consider when choosing a contractor.

  • Make sure the contractor is licensed to work in your state and is insured.  By maintaining the proper licensing and insurance coverge, a contractor shows his credibility and experience.
  • Get more than one bid for the project. Bids can sometimes vary by thousands of dollars. Be sure all of the bids are quoting the same specifications, otherwise it will be difficult to compare.  If you have diagrams available, be sure each bidder receives a copy.
  • Be specific on the details of the project and have them in writing. Even a small home improvement project can be overwhelming to homeowners. By spelling out the details before the project begins, you can ensure you and your contractor are on the same page. If there is any question, the written document can help resolve them quickly. Be sure to discuss what the contractor expects from you, such as moving furniture or other items.
    Also, be sure to discuss access to the home, hours of work, and special issues, such as pets.
  • Check Reference. Ask for a list of customers with similar projects and call references for any contractors before you hire them.You can gain valuable insight into how a contractor works by just asking a few simple questions of former customers.
    It's also a good idea to do an online search for the contractor. Look for reviews and other feedback. Remember that online reviews are usually anonymous and can be unreliable.
  • Ask who will actually do the work. Will the contractor and his employees be working onsite or is he planning to hire a subcontractor?
  • Ask about payment terms and warranty information. Be cautious of contractors who ask for full payment before the work is completed. Get warranties in writing.

Need more information about hiring a contractor? Look at the Federal Trade Commission's tips and ideas.  Also remember that remodeling and additions can change the insurance needed on your home. Contact us to make sure your coverages are updated.