room addition contractor

Update: Finding a contractor in your area is easier than ever before thanks to the wealth of websites available that are designed to help you source contractors that are right for you. You can start by searching local listings sites and getting recommendations from friends and neighbors. Next you can check examples of work they’ve previously done to see if it was completed to a high enough standard before arranging a meeting where you can share your vision. If you feel that they understand what you’re trying to do then you’re sure to have found the right match!

Finding the right contractor for a remodeling or expansion job on your home is a matter of being proactive in searching out the right people and businesses and doing your homework to ensure that the work will be done in the way you want it. With some time investment in research and checking information, some time investment in talking with potential contractors for your job and their previous customers, and some time investment in thought and evaluation, you can have a remodeling experience that will be pleasant and successful.

Customers seeking remodeling or expansion services, as well as those who need critical repairs of damages from natural disasters are statistically very vulnerable to scam artists, unlicensed contractors, contractors who don’t carry proper insurance, and contractors who use off-the-books labor of one kind or another. There are, however, many ways that you can protect yourself from bad contractors.

What should you look for in a contractor?

1. Look for a contractor with a strong track record of success in your community. These businesses will be well established, they will be known in and by members of the community.

2. Look for a contractor who is properly licensed and insured. This means that the contractor is licensed to do the kind of work you need done. You probably would not want to hire a licensed painter to do electrical work, for example. How do you know if a contractor is properly licensed? First, check with your State Department of Commerce or with the State licensing board. Be certain the contractor you are considering has a current license to do the specific kind of work you want done. The licensing board should be able to tell you if the contractor carries General Liability Insurance and Worker’s Compensation Insurance.

3. Another indicator of the reliability of the contractor might be membership in the National Association for the Remodeling Industry. Members of trade organizations like this one tend to have certain membership advantages. For example, trade organizations generally provide information to their members about the latest products, new construction techniques, business practices and current issues within the industry.

4. You may also want to check with the State Attorney General’s Office to ensure that a contractor you are considering is not registered in their directory of fictitious business names.

5. A good contractor will offer experience, capability, quality and price. These are things you need to research. Some of these questions should be asked of the contractor. Some should be asked of other people, particularly previous clients of the contractor. It is important to discuss all of these questions with each contractor you are considering and then compare the information and insights you gain.

When evaluating the contractor’s experience, be sure to look for experience doing the kind of project you have in mind, not just general experience. Evaluating the contractor’s previous work will allow you to assess the capability of the contractor to do a job to the level of quality you want.

And, remember that you often get what you pay for. You are about to make an investment in what is probably your greatest single asset — your home. Ask the contractor to explain the building codes for your neighborhood. Does this contractor plan on working to code or exceeding the requirements of code? In discussing quality with a potential contractor, be sure to discuss materials and work quality. Will this contractor use low-grade or mid-grade materials? What difference will that make in the quality of the completed work? When it comes to painting, will the contractor begin with a primer coat? How many coats of paint will be applied?

When you compare the prices of various contractors, be certain that you are comparing like quality of materials and work. Make notes as you interview each contractor and be sure to get from each a written estimate.

Bear in mind that a good, reputable contractor will expect these and other questions about quality, capability and experience. The right contractor for the job will be more than happy to answer questions and explain differences in materials and workmanship. In fact, this may be the first important test of whether the contractor is someone you can work with on the project design and implementation.

What are the warning signs that a contractor won’t work for you or for your project?

The best contractors will be eager to listen to you, your goals for the project, your desires for the appearance and quality of the finished work, and your budget. The contractor should be someone with whom you can communicate clearly, effectively, and easily. A good contractor will outline for you all of the costs associated with the project. A good contractor will have ideas about design and workmanship and will be willing to share those ideas with you without forcing his or her opinions onto the project. A good contractor will also want you to understand and help you to understand how your decisions will affect the final project and the cost of the project.

A contractor without licensing or experience in the kind of project you want done, is probably not going to work out in providing the finished product you want.

A contractor with whom you find it difficult to communicate probably will not work for you.

A contractor who talks down to you or assumes the attitude of knowing more than you do about your needs or desires, probably will not work for you.

A contractor who projects an attitude of indifference toward your project probably will not work for you.

A contractor who cannot give you a clear outline of the work to be done and the schedule within which it will be completed probably will not work out for you.

What can you do to avoid the bad contractors?

Avoiding bad contractors is your responsibility. If you do your homework carefully, you should be able to avoid bad contractors. There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a contractor that can help you identify and avoid the bad contractors.

First, check with the state licensing board. Find out if the individual’s license is current. Find out it the license has ever been revoked or suspended.

Second, check with the local court system to see if there have been cases that involved the contractor.

Third, check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if there have been problems or complaints about the contractor. Find out how those complaints and problems were resolved.

Fourth, check with previous customers of the contractor. Ask them about their level of satisfaction with the quality of Contractor Selection Workbookthe work, with the way the contractor conducted business, with the ability of the contractor to complete the job on time and within budget, with the way the work site was maintained and the way the work crews interacted with their property and their family. Ask them if there were any problems getting answers to questions or resolving problems. Ask them if they would recommend the contractor without hesitation and if they would hire the contractor again.

Remember, jobs are different and people are different. Consider who was unhappy with a contractor and ask yourself whether it is more likely that the problem lay with the contractor or the customer. Review completed jobs that are a much like your project as possible. Since no project is perfect and things can go wrong, be sure to consider how you think a contractor will handle such a situation or resolve a problem.

With a little research, some good conversations, and a willingness to trust your instincts, you can find the right contractor for your project and have a good experience with your remodeling job.