We realize that selecting a contractor can sometimes be a daunting task; therefore we would like to offer the following hints to help you in your decision making.
Check the contractor’s references.
Ask the contractor for local references and call them to see if they were satisfied with the contractor’s work. Skilled contractors will be proud to take credit for their work. Remember, the person you hire to work in your home will be in and around your home until the job is completed.
Ask the contractor for the address of his business location and telephone number and verify them. You may also want to check the contractor out with your local building department, trade association or union, and the Better Business Bureau. Call these organizations to see if they have information about the contractor you are considering. Ask how long the company has been in business, and find out if there are any complaints about the firm or other relevant file information.
Make sure the contractor has Workers’ Compensation and Liability insurance coverage.
Ask the contractor if the company is insured against claims covering workers’ compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Ask to see a copy of the certificate of insurance.
Get competitive proposals for the project.
Solicit at least three proposals for the work you need; do not automatically accept the lowest.
Make sure all proposals are based on the same set of specifications, materials and scope of work. Discuss the proposals in detail with each contractor and make sure you understand the reasons for any variations in price. Take into consideration the length of time in business, company size, insurance and overhead- ensuring that you are comparing apples to apples.
Beware of any proposal substantially lower than the others. Don’t forget the old adage, “If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”
Get a signed contract
Since a written contract protects both you and the contractor, all agreements should be put in writing. It should include everything you have agreed upon and the extent of work to be done. Never sign a blank or partially blank contract. Get a copy of the contract as soon as you sign it, and keep it for your records. Both you and the contractor are bound by everything set down in the contract, so read it carefully before you sign.
Be sure the financial terms are clear. The contract should include the total price, when payments are due and whether there is a cancellation penalty. On any home improvement job, you should expect to make a down payment to cover special order items.
The contract should specify all materials to be used, such as the quality, quantity, weight, color, size or brand name as it may apply. If you add work, substitute materials or equipment or change the completion date, make sure that clearly worded and signed “change orders” reflect this.
In most cases you will be living in your home while the work is being done. You should be aware of the many inconveniences that may occur. Exterior walls may be taken down, water and/or power shut off, or bathroom & kitchen facilities temporarily disconnected. Dust and debris will be an everyday occurrence. Before work begins, ask your contractor what inconveniences may occur and then plan for them. That way, both you and your contractor can avoid conflicts when inconveniences actually do occur.
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The guys were GREAT! They went above and beyond to help me and answer my questions. Your electrician and painters were also really good and I would use them all again on other projects.Doug & Lynn Roche Clifton Park
Your staff was excellent in all phases of construction. We appreciated his friendliness and professionalism. We will consider you first for any future projects.Deb Jameson & Lorelei Heidenstrom Schenectady
Thanks for a job well done. Our bathroom turned out great. Brian kept us up to date on what was going on and when as did Jay. We would definitely recommend your company.Barbara Vanat Valatie
Everything was done in a very professional manner, and we must say that everyone, especially Matt & Joe, were extremely friendly and helpful!Blaine & Carol BryceLoudonville