As anyone who’s worked with contractors can attest, not everyone in this field is equally obliging. While some contractors are extremely accommodating and easy to work with, others can turn relatively simple projects into costly nightmares. That being the case, it’s in your best interest to do your homework and exercise discernment the next time you find yourself in the market for a contractor. To help ensure that you wind up with a winner, look for someone who possesses the following qualities.
Licensing to Work as a Contractor in Your Jurisdiction
Any contractor with whom you do business should be licensed, registered or certified to practice their craft in your jurisdiction. Additionally, keep in mind that being licensed, registered or certified in one state shouldn’t be taken to mean that a contractor is cleared to work in every state. Different states have different requirements, so if you’re unclear on what your state’s are, simply open up your preferred browser and do a little research.
Putting forth the time and effort to obtain the proper licensing, registration or certification is a sign that a contractor is confident in their abilities and dedicated to their craft. Conversely, contractors who practice without proper licensing tend to lack the same level of expertise as their licensed contemporaries. Furthermore, while unlicensed contractors often charge lower rates, hiring one is liable to cost you more in the long run. For one thing, you may ultimately wind up hiring a licensed contractor to fix any mistakes they’ve made.
Licensed contractors are able to easily pull various permits, which can help expedite certain repairs and renovations. Unsurprisingly, obtaining the right permits is particularly important in municipalities that make use of advanced code enforcement software.
Willingness to Guarantee Their Work
A willingness to guarantee one’s work is generally a positive attribute in a contractor. Considering how much large-scale repairs and renovations tend to cost, it’s only natural that you’d expect a contractor to stand by their work. In addition, some states require that contractors provide clients with warranties, although the length of said warranties varies.
So, before proceeding to hire a contractor, ask about what the types of guarantees they offer – especially if this information isn’t available on their website. Furthermore, request that they provide you with a physical copy of their guarantee, as this will ensure that you have a backup if the terms of said guarantee are ever removed from their website.
You should never hire a contractor who lacks insurance coverage. Not only will you wind up having to pay for any damage caused to your property, you may also find yourself held financially responsible for the medical costs associated with any injuries an uninsured contractor incurs while working for you. Additionally, depending on the severity of their injuries, you may be expected to shell out a small fortune.
As such, it is vitally important that you request proof of insurance before committing to hire a new contractor. For maximum security, look for contractors who are covered by general liability, professional liability, commercial auto, worker’s compensation and inland marine insurance. Depending on the type of work being done, other types of insurance may be required. So, before giving a contractor the go-ahead to start work, research what types of insurance are needed for the job in question and confirm that your contractor has the proper coverage.
To get a feel for a contractor’s level of professionalism and approach to customer service, seek out feedback from past clients. Fortunately, thanks to the abundance of contractor review sites, finding helpful feedback is far from difficult. Although a bad review or two is to be expected for any contractor, individuals whose unfavorable reviews far outnumber their favorable ones should generally be avoided.
Few experiences are as frustrating – or costly – as hiring the wrong contractor. Regardless of how simple or straightforward a job is, some contractors are liable to make it seem like a herculean feat and charge you accordingly. As such, you’d be wise to educate yourself on the tenets of a good contractor before proceeding to hire someone to tackle large-scale repairs and/or renovations. Fortunately, distinguishing good contractors from bad ones can be a fairly easy task – provided, of course, you know which qualities to look for.