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Behind Every Successful DIFM Project is the Right Contractor Top 5 Tips When You're Hiring a Contractor

With a little research, you can avoid the most common problems homeowners have when working with home improvement/home repair contractors. As long as you do your homework and don't let a low price tempt you, your project should turn out to be a success.

Take Names

When it comes to finding a reliable contractor, it's an excellent idea to take the recommendation of a friend, family member or neighbor. You'll know you'll get an honest account of the experience, and you can witness the results firsthand.

Question Everything

You can never ask too many questions, but you might not ask the right ones. Key questions to include:

  • Are you licensed? (Ask for proof, and be sure to verify.)
  • When can you start and finish? (Let your contractor know up-front if you have a deadline and allow some extra time.)
  • How many years have you been in business?
  • What is your daily work schedule?
  • Will you be the on-site supervisor?
  • Do you carry workmen's comp? (Ask to see proof.)

Three's a Charm

When you interview potential contractors (aim for three bids) make sure you ask the same questions and check all credentials. The most expensive quote doesn't guarantee the best work and the cheapest quote might not be the most economically advantageous

Reference Point

If a contractor's business is derived from repeat or referred business, it's a good sign that his clients are pleased with this work and he has an excellent reputation. Once you get a list of references from the contractor, try to hand select a mix of recent, repeat and longtime clients for legitimate testimonials. Ask how they know the contractor. Contractors' family members or relatives may not give you an honest opinion.

Can I Have That in Writing?

Before you begin your project, make sure every detail is spelled out in a contract. Ideally, you should have a lawyer review the document for any errors, omission or inconsistencies. And don't forget to ask for a written warranty on all workmanship.

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