Home Improvement Contractor - qualified and insured by right for you?
Your friendly neighborhood home improvement contractor needs to a lot more than just friendly or in the neighborhood. There are countless problematic scenarios of contractors who suddenly appear at your door offering a great deal, or stick cards in your windshield wiper blade, or leave announcements weighted with pebbles in your driveway.
Are they good, dependable contractors? Who knows? They may be just starting out without an advertising budget; they may not have websites. Or they may be scam artists. Do you want ANY of those guys, even the honest ones, working on your house?
Basically, there are five requirements for a good home improvement contractor. First, he should carry a home improvement contractor license, and be properly certified in home repair and landscape work. He should, in addition, carry the proper home improvement contractor insurance, and be willing to produce all those documents. He should also have proof that he is thoroughly trained in his particular specialization, be it exterior or interior improvements, landscaping, roofing, painting or any other specialties in home contract jobs.
Second, he should have an actual location for his business, rather than just work out of his truck. He should have an office you can locate through his website (which means he should have a website). He should display his membership certificate in the NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry); if he hasn't got that, what does that tell you about him?
In addition, he should be listed as a "preferred contractor" on the NARI website listings. These are the best, and most experienced, home improvement contractors out there, and you dont want anything less for your home.
Third, he should indeed be "friendly and neighborhood" - that means he's amenable to whatever restrictions you want to put on his work time and latitude in improving your home. He should also be local; it is unbelievable how much money you can save hiring a local man as opposed to an out-of-town contractor. You dont want every trip to your house to be a special jaunt that will involve him moving his whole business along with him. You're picking up the gasoline/oil tab for this guy; the less you put out for fuel, the more you keep for yourself.
Fourth, your home improvement contractor should have a portfolio of work that he himself has done, and that he can guarantee; he should also have references that you can contact (professional business people are the best) to find out if he's the great worker he say he is. His website should have evidence of this as well; if he does good work, hell want it visible on the webpage.
Fifth, he should give you a complete estimate of the charges that youll incur, without any hidden fees or surprises. The bottom line should be the bottom line.
If you'll bear these five basic requirements in mind, you won't need to worry about the guy who comes to your door with the "great deal." Your home improvement contractor will already have given you the best deal you can get.