Three Things to Look for When Hiring a Contractor

Considering the average homeowner doesn’t have to hire a contractor very often, it’s small wonder that most homeowners find it intimidating. Learn three criteria to look for when considering local contractors so you can narrow your selection pool and hire with confidence.

1. Credentials
If you wanted to hire someone with no relevant experience, you could do the job yourself! Credentials validate someone’s experience, which is always important.

Start your contractor search by asking friends, neighbors, and relatives for their recommendations of licensed professionals.

Once you’ve got at least three names of contractors, check with the state that their licenses are up-to-date. Find out how long they’ve been in business and whether they belong to any professional organization. This shows you that a contractor is a dedicated professional with demonstrated work experience. That’s helpful because you never know when something unexpected will happen on a job, and you want someone who has the chops to handle it.

2. Awards or Accreditations
A new company may not have any awards or accolades but if see a company with multi-decade history but no awards or accreditations, consider it a red flag. If a contractor is good at what they do and has long work history, they should have third-party recognition.

Accolades to look for include positive ratings with the Better Business Bureau or with Angie’s List, a consumer ratings site, and awards from a particular vendor or a professional association, such as a Dealer of the Year award. It matters less where the recognition came from, as long as the contractor’s workmanship has some recognition.

3. Price
Price is an important factor to consider when you look at the scope of the work. The general advice is that you get what you pay for with construction. If one bid comes in much lower than the others, there’s reason the person needs the job.

Take the time to understand the quotes and what’s reflected in the price (for instance, labor and materials). Then choose a contractor who falls within your budget, has the right experience, and is independently vetted through awards, accolades, or references.

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