When you undertake major renovations at home, you go in prepared for a bit of an ordeal. Nonetheless, you keep yourself sane by reminding yourself that it’s all only temporary. The noise, the mess and the disruption will abate and you’ll be left with years to enjoy your perfect home.
It’s a simple dream, but one that’s dashed to pieces for thousands every year by bad contractors.
Whether it’s through shoddy workmanship, contractors taking large upfront payments then disappearing off the face of the Earth or waiting endlessly for subcontractors that never show, many are stuck in the wreckage of their homes left angry and out of pocket.
While there’s recourse in these instances, it’s often a long and draining battle to resolve. Since prevention is always the best cure, here’s how you can land a dependable contractor in just a few easy steps.
Ensure your contractor is licensed
The most important thing to check is whether your chosen contractor is licensed, with the necessary paperwork to prove that they have the capability to do the job. It ensures the legitimacy of the contractor themselves and their business. If your contractor is licensed, then if (Heaven forbid) something goes wrong you will be able to complain to the Consumer Affairs Department or your city’s Licensing Bureau. An inspector will come to assess the damage done and this will enable you to build your case.
If, however, your contractor is not licensed, your only recourse may be to file a civil suit on your own.
Check here to see if your chosen contractor is licensed.
Research the business
While you can’t be expected to glean everything you need to know from the contractor’s website, it’s a good place to start.
Check out Mr Roof’s website for a good example of how your contractor’s website should look. They should invite accountability and offer a free, zero-obligation estimate. They should also have a testimonials section full of glowing reviews from happy customers and a gallery full of great examples of their work.
You should also perform rigorous checks on the business and keep an eye open for bad reviews. You should also check the contractor’s reputation. If they have a history of managing numerous businesses or legal action taken against them then these are obvious red flags.
Interview the contractor
Internet research is a godsend, but it’s also useful to meet your contractor face to face to get a feel for them before you commit to hire. Allow them to present a case for why their skills and experience make them the best fit for the job.
Find out if he or she will be on the job every day or whether they’re just a salesperson, or the ‘face’ of the business. They should come with some referrals which you should follow up on. Go and see examples of their work in person if you can. Tell them that you’re pursuing multiple estimates (which you should be doing anyway).
Be wary of anyone who instantly promises to undercut their competition as this means that they may be willing to use cheap, substandard materials.