There’s no denying that some contractors are easier to work with than others. In fact, it seems like everyone who works with contractors on a consistent basis has at least one horror story to tell. That being the case, it pays to exercise discernment the next time you find yourself in need of a contractor.
Taking the time to do proper research and familiarize yourself with the tenets of a good contractor can dramatically diminish your odds of winding up with someone reliable.
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When considering a certain contractor, the first thing you should confirm is that they’re licensed, certified or registered to practice their profession in your jurisdiction. Proper licensing is important for a number of reasons, many of which don’t become apparent until after you’ve dealt with the stress of working with an unlicensed contractor.
To start with, this shows that a contractor is skilled enough at their trade and confident enough in their abilities to weather the licensing process. As such, it’s only natural to infer that an unlicensed contractor is going to lack this level of dedication and confidence.
Working exclusively with licensed contractors also stands to save you a fair amount of money. Although unlicensed contractors tend to charge lower rates, the adage “You get what you pay for” often holds true. And should an unlicensed contractor leave you with subpar work, you may ultimately have to hire a licensed contractor to fix their mistakes or redo the job entirely.
You’re also likely to get a much higher level of professionalism from a licensed contractor, given that they have ample incentive to exhibit honesty, stick to a budget and see jobs through to completion. On the flipside, unlicensed contractors have no real incentive to conduct themselves professionally. After all, how are they going to lose a license they never had to begin with?
Licensed contractors are also able to pull a plethora of permits with relative ease. Needless to say, this can prove particularly convenient for clients in municipalities that utilize cutting-edge building permit software.
The Right Insurance Coverage
Hiring a contractor who lacks the right insurance – or insurance coverage altogether – is a mistake you should never make. In the absence of insurance, you may be held financially responsible for any injuries a contractor incurs, as well as any damage caused to your property as a result of contractor error.
So, before doing business with a new contractor, confirm that they’re covered by general liability, professional liability, worker’s compensation, inland marine and commercial auto insurance.
Depending on the type of work being undertaken, contractors may need additional types of insurance. As such, make a point of confirming that any contractor you work with has the proper insurance coverage for the job.
Willingness to Stand by Their Work
From a client standpoint, it’s only fitting that contractors stand by their work. Considering how pricey large-scale repairs and renovations tend to be, expecting a contractor to guarantee their work is perfectly reasonable. That being the case, make sure you’re aware of any guarantees a contractor offers before proceeding to hire them.
Some states require contractors to guarantee their work for varying spans of time. However, it’s not unusual for contractors who are truly confident in their work to offer guarantees that extend beyond the warranty periods mandated by their respective states.
Reputation for Quality Customer Service
Feedback from previous clients can prove tremendously helpful to anyone searching for a suitable contractor. Luckily, thanks to a growing plethora of websites dedicated to contractor feedback, finding client reviews couldn’t be easier.
When reading through the reviews for a contractor who’s caught your interest, carefully consider what past clients have to say about their work ethic, professional and general reliability.
There’s no shortage of people who have had horrible experiences with contractors. Additionally, depending on the scope of the repairs or renovations you need tackled, hiring the wrong contractor can prove exorbitantly stressful and draining on your finances.
While there’s no surefire way to ensure you never hire an unreliable contractor, there are numerous steps you can take to dramatically limit your chances of doing so.
So, the next time you find yourself in the market for a good contractor, keep an eye out for the signs discussed above.