By Barbara Pronin
Whether you are remodeling your kitchen or landscaping the yard, choosing the right contractor for the job can make the difference between confidence and sleepless nights. The design professionals at Home and Garden TV offer tips to help you choose a good one:
Get referrals — Referrals are, hands down, the best way to find a qualified professional. Ask friends, relatives, and neighbors who have had similar work done whether they were happy with the work and would use the same contractor again.
Check credentials — Find out via a phone call or from the contractor’s website if he or she has all the required state and local licenses along with any designations from established professional associations.
Interview candidates — Narrow down your list of contenders to three. Interview all three in person, asking as many questions as you may have. Good communication will be a must throughout the job, so get a feel for which one makes you feel most confident.
Check references — Ask for a couple of references and call them. Were they pleased with the outcome? Would they have done anything differently? Would they recommend the contractor to a friend?
Go one step further — Does the contractor have a permanent address, email and cell phone? Carry insurance that protects you from liability? Have an established presence in the community?
Get it in writing — Check the written contract carefully before you sign it. Be sure it includes:
- a full price and payment schedule
- a schedule for completing primary tasks
- a written procedure for close-out
- warranty information
- a clause about dispute resolution
- a waiver of lien, which would prevent subcontractors and suppliers from putting a lien on your house should their invoices go unpaid by the contractor.