Photo by Olgar Fallas

Update: Due to the slowdown in the housing market, more homeowners than ever before are choosing to stay where they are and embark on a home remodeling project. This means that the best contractors are in great demand, but that’s no reason to settle for a contractor with no references or with a poor professional record. You should be thorough about researching potential contractors to make sure you get the highest quality work done by the best in the business. There are many listings websites where you can look for potential contractors and most neighborhoods have community websites where you can find and rate local tradespeople.

(ARA) — If you’re thinking about remodeling the kitchen, bathroom or some other room in the house this summer, you’re in good company. Industry experts are predicting this year will be one of the busiest on record for remodeling.

“I just saw the results of a recent survey of professional remodelers and if they’re any indication, people in the home remodeling business are going to be dealing with backlogs for some time,” says Dennis Day, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the largest and oldest construction trade association in the United States.

While you may be excited about finally getting a project you’ve been wanting to do for a long time done, Day says you shouldn’t just jump into the process without first doing some careful planning.

“Deciding who to hire to do the different aspects of your job requires careful consideration,” he says. “And a good place to start is by checking out a company’s references and reputation. Here is a checklist to follow:

  • Verify the contractor’s licensing and insurance.
  • Make sure the contractor has at least five years’ experience and is an expert doing the type of work you need.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if information on your candidate is available.
  • Ask how many jobs like yours the contractor has completed.
  • Ask for examples of work the contractor has done on other projects.
  • Ask the contractor for references from ten current and/or past clients who have had work similar to yours done. Most business comes to a good contractor from referrals, so investigate these references. Randomly call at least three.

“You should ask the people you call if they were satisfied with the job done, if there were any delays in the work schedule, if workers showed up regularly and on time, and if the work area was well-maintained. It would also be good to know if the contractor held firm to time and cost

estimates, how questions and complaints were handled, and if the person you’re talking to would use the contractors again,” says Day.

The contract you sign with the contractor should include clear information on all aspects of the job including the scope of the work, specific materials to be used, start and projected finish dates, and the progress payment schedule. Be sure all parties understand the terms of the agreement or contract. The contract can be used for your protection if the project is delayed, incomplete, or damaged.

For more tips on choosing the right contractor or construction contracts, log on to AGC’s Web site at www.agc.org.

Courtesy of ARA Content