You have been thinking of remodeling your kitchen or bath and now you are ready to take the plunge into the world of remodeling. Like most homeowners you search through magazines for ideas, you watch HGTV, and you visit the many showrooms to see the thousands of options available. So now you search for a contractor with one eye shut hoping to avoid the pitfalls of finding the wrong company and becoming a headline contractor nightmare story on the evening news. So where do you start? What questions do you ask your potential contractor to prevent this from happening?
In our seminars we discussed many powerful ideas that can help homeowners become knowledgeable in this area.
Three mandatory questions to ask your contractor:
1. Can I visit your place of business?
Successful contractors will be happy to show their potential customer their place of business. It shows that you are careful and prudent. Seeing a contractor’s office and shop will tell you how substantial the company is. Look for eqipment that will signify that the contractor is in the business full time. Is the shop neat and organized? Are the office staff and employees pleasant and professional? Does it look like a contractor who is experience in the doing the types of jobs that you need done?
2. Can I see proof or your insurance?
Hiring uninsured or under-insured contractors can expose you to thousands of dollars of risk. Do not take this matter lightly. Make sure you see the proof of liabilty and workmen’s compensation coverage. During our seminars some homeowners said they were given copies of car insurance coverage when they asked to see a policy. Some said they were shown policies with lapsed expiration dates and dates altered with whiteout. Contractor’s pay alot of money for insurance and are happy to provide you with verification that they have it. Professional contractors’ know that the majority of low bid contractors don’t carry the right insurance if they have any at all. This is by far the largest reason why some contractors are half the cost of professional companies. The action to take is call the agent who provided the policy to confirm its coverage and authenticty. You can also be named an additional insured on the Accord form. This will insure that you will be notified if a policy lapses for non payment. This subject will be discussed further in future posts.
3. Can I see a project similar to the one you are doing?
If you are doing a major remodel or addition you may not want a handyman. Ask to see projects similar to the one you are doing. A professional remodeler will be happy to help you confirm that he can handle your project by showing his work. You also will be able to guage the competence of the remodeler by talking to the homeowner.
There are many more questions to ask your potential remodeling contractor which I will share in coming posts. Remember the best protection from a bad contractor experience is self education.