Tips for Finding a Great Contractor – Whether For Your Garage Door or Something Else
Contractors- they can be life savers, miracle workers, or they can be just a total dud. I’ve had my share of total duds. What was I doing wrong, how do I find a good contractor?
It can be a challenge to find a good contractor, whether you’re talking specifically about garage door repairs or any other aspect of home repair or remodeling, especially this time of year when a lot of folks are fixing up their homes. And, of course, the very best place to start is to talk with your friends and neighbors who had some work done recently. People love to brag when they’ve done something well and they usually aren’t shy about complaining when someone is done bad work.
Another good idea is to talk to people who work at your local hardware store or lumber store. Local business people who serve the construction industry, they know who pays the bills regularly, who gets jobs done on time and who has the best reputation. You should also cross references referrals if you can.
And how do I do that?
For starters, check them for complains with the Better Business Bureau, but you don’t have to jump to conclusions if there are complaints, just see if the dispute has been resolved.
And number two, check the worker’s references. Ask the contractor to let you see some of his other jobs and if you can, talk to those homeowners.
And third, check the person out on online reviews sites. One really important note of caution: don’t rely just on one review site, consult several.
All right. I know this is an on-going debate. I should not always trust online reviews.
No, overall you can totally trust them, you just want to apply a little common sense and scrutiny because some companies might plant reviews to increase their rankings. For instance, we’ve heard about some reviews that have been written anonymously by a company’s employees, some reviews might have been paid for, companies hire people to write glowing reviews, or a rival company might write a negative review about a contractor.
That sounds like a total mess. So, how do you I know what’s real?
It’s not hard. It’s just a matter of applying a little judgment and leg work. So, check reviews over a person under few sites. Like I said, just don’t rely on one.
And when you see extreme reviews, like “Don’t let this guy step foot on your property!” or “It’s the best experience of my life”, take it with a grain of salt. Balance positive and negative reviews.
If you find a negative comment about a contractor you are interested in, check to see if he resolved it.
All right. Let’s say I found my contractor, I think I found the person I want the person I want to work on my house. How do I protect myself when it’s time to sign the contract?
First, you want to get itemized bids from three contractors, so that you get a good number of bids to compare and itemizing it’s important so you can see where the costs are assigned. So if you need to trim, you can find specific that you might be able to do without.
Some things that your contract should include is that the contractor will get all the permits and the approvals, that it names the start and end dates for the projects and a payment schedule.
And just as a tip: be sure to specify fifteen to thirty percent for the final payment, so you’re holding something back and that final payment should be made only if the work it totally completed and you were able to verify that the subcontractors have been paid.
Speaking of subcontractors, before you hire out , ask who will be in charge of the job site and meet the foreman.
Okay. So, say I’ve signed a deal with a contractor and he’s hired a team, what happens if the crew then is not reliable or they show up late or maybe sometimes not at all?
If you need to throw a hissy fit, because it is tempting to do so, do it privately, then take a deep breath and if the problem is chronic, document your grievances, know the days and times that the crew failed to show and for how long, make note of delayed deliveries of materials, appliances and then take photos of any shoddy work or inferior materials.
And talk to your contractor away from the crew. If that doesn’t work, then you need to consider other options like firing them, getting an attorney, or going to small claims court. Usually, it doesn’t come to that.