The Spring season is around the corner, and that’s when the chaos of home remodeling starts. All across Google there are endless articles on how to choose a contractor, but they all mention the same 3-5 generic tips. Even worse, the majority of these “insightful articles” are written by someone who has never done any contracting work themselves.
If you wanted to learn how to play basketball, would you rather learn from a player in the NBA or a commentator on the sidelines? Here are some of our top tips for hiring a contractor, from a contractor.
1. Treat it like a job interview
There are many contractors out there that can perform the service you are looking for. They have swarms of minions walking your neighborhoods and knocking on your door daily. Don’t feel obligated to sign a contract if you’re not ready yet, just because they are in your home and offer you a “price good for just today”. That’s pressure, not professionalism.
2. Find out who the owner is
Before you enter into a contract with someone, do a simple Google search and see what comes up on the company and their owner. See if they have any legal actions against them or criminal charges or if they have been sued in the past.
Many times, a contractor will start a company and within a year go bankrupt. They don’t pay their employees or any debt owed to their vendors, and then they start all over again with a new company. So, make sure to check their state home improvement license and confirm they are in good standing.
3. Ask them about their materials
If the salesperson or contractor doesn’t know what materials they are using for your job, that is a huge red flag. If they don’t know their materials or the brands and models they are using for every piece of your project, that means they most likely don’t know the difference. And trust me, there are a lot of bad products out there.
A lot of contractors will offer you several different brands, and that’s actually not a good thing. It means they have no relationship with any particular brand and usually offer whatever fits into your budget. That is the WRONG way to go people. I would rather hire somebody who swears by one product rather than somebody who lets me (the uneducated homeowner, not the supposed professional expert) pick.
4. Ask if they do repairs
Most homeowners would never think to ask this question to the contractor they are about to choose. Yet, it’s critical information to know! The reason being that if a company only does replacements and doesn’t do any repairs, then how are they going to repair your job if something goes wrong in the future?
An organized, reputable company will have a repair team that can perform the small repair or warranty work when needed. The last thing you want is for a company to not have a repair team on hand and you have a leak in your roof or window that is broken.
5. Ask if the warranty is registered with the manufacturer
This one is quite simple. If you have a contractor do work for you and they don’t register the warranty with the manufacturer, then you will be on the line if that contractor goes out of business. If the warranty is registered with the manufacturer, then that means you can rely on the manufacturer who has been in business for years and years for full or partial coverage.
6. Avoid websites that sell your information
Websites like HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List take your information and give it to multiple contractors in your area. They don’t give your information to the “best” contractors, they give it to the ones who pay the “most”. There are instances of them selling your information to felons and other unwanted people. It’s no surprise then that they are currently in a class-action lawsuit with contractors across the country that have been wronged by them. https://chimicles.com/class-action-lawsuit-filed-homeadvisor-iacinteractive/
7. Never go with the lowest bidder
Are you one of those people who need to have the lowest price on everything? Well, in case you haven’t learned the hard way already, home remodeling is not the area to do that. The majority of the complaints on the BBB are from the home improvement industry, like roofing. Currently, over 80% of these complaints stem from customers who state they chose the lowest bid for their project.
If it’s the cheapest, ask yourself why it’s the cheapest. I can tell you with 100% honesty that the cheapest roof never goes hand-in-hand with a good quality roofing system that is tested and warranted.
Do you live in Maryland or Northern Virginia and need a trusted and proven contractor?
Give us a call or text us now at 301.941.7784. Or, go to our website and submit a request here:
We are ready to help you love your home again!