What to Look for in Your Home Contractor

What to Look for in Your Home Contractor


If you are planning to take on a major home improvement project, you’ll be hiring a contractor unless you decide to do the entire job yourself. Most of us do not have the time nor the talent to add a room, upgrade a kitchen or finish an attic, which means that finding someone who can do the work is our only viable option.

home renovationFinding a home improvement contractor can be as easy as flipping the pages of your Yellow Book or narrowing down a search online. If using the Internet, you may decide to choose from one of the contractors appearing on the first page of the search engine results, but don’t allow a robust Internet placement alone to guide you. Mostly anyone using a good search engine optimization company can gain a high placement. Consider the following when shopping for your contractor:

Local Licensing – Most localities and states require that home improvement contractors be licensed. Contact your state’s business services department to confirm whether contractors on your short list of 3-5 prospects are, indeed, licensed. If not, scratch them off of your list at once.

Business Bureau – You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to find out more information about the contractor including unresolved customer complaints. Verify their business online through services such as ServiceMagic.com to see if the contractor has been screened. You may uncover customer reviews too, but take these with a grain of salt as anyone can say just about anything about a home renovator, good or bad.

Get Recommendations – You can save yourself time and heartache by dealing with a home improvement contractor recommended by a family member, friend or co-worker. That is, if you trust this person to give you an unbiased recommendation. A happy customer will gladly share their satisfaction with you; don’t hesitate obtaining references from the contractor and contacting them.

Payment Methods – Never pay for the entire job in advance. Consider a small amount to pay for materials with one-third payments given once the project has started, a second payment made when the halfway point in the renovation job has been reached, and the final payment made when you are satisfied that the work has been completed.

Signed Contract – Always work with a contract and have an attorney review it first for a significant home renovation job. You may be able to cancel the contract under state or federal law within a few days if you have cause to do so.

Adv. — Check out more tips on how to find a home improvement contractor on SayLending.com.

If a problem arises, talk with your contractor first. If you cannot resolve the matter, contact your local or state’s Department of Consumer Affairs for assistance. Most problems can be handled between you and your contractor, but your locality or state can back you up.


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Categories: Home Improvement

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".