While the right contractor can carry out large-scale repairs and renovations with aplomb, the wrong contractor can turn even the most straightforward job into an expensive headache. So, the next time you require the services of a contractor, you’d do well to opt for the former and avoid the latter at all costs. However, if you have limited experience with contractors, you may find yourself unable to distinguish reliable ones from unreliable ones. Luckily, steering clear of bad contractors is far from an uphill battle.
Request Proof Of Licensing
It’s in your best interest to avoid giving your business to unlicensed contractors. For one thing, a contractor who can’t be troubled to obtain proper licensing, certification, or registration to practice their trade in the jurisdiction in which they work may not be able to offer the level of dedication and professionalism you’re looking for. Furthermore, unlike their licensed contemporaries, unlicensed contractors often lack sufficient incentive to provide good customer service, guarantee their work, stick to budgets, or complete jobs they find bothersome.
So, upon finding a contractor with whom you’re interested in working, the first thing you should do is confirm that they’re properly licensed, certified, or registered to work in your state. Additionally, since different states have different qualifications, being licensed to practice in one state doesn’t mean a contractor is licensed to practice in every state. If a contractor refuses to provide you with a clear answer regarding their licensed status (or lack thereof), this should be regarded as a red flag. No contractor who put forth the time and effort to get licensed would be shy about providing proof of this accomplishment.
It's also important to note that licensed contractors can easily pull a wide assortment of permits and are extremely meticulous about keeping things up to code. Needless to say, these are very favorable qualities to possess in municipalities that utilize high-quality building permit software.
Confirm That They Guarantee Their Work
Considering how much money you’re likely to spend on a contractor’s services, it’s perfectly reasonable that you would expect them to guarantee their work. In fact, some states even require contractors to guarantee their work for a certain amount of time. Additionally, when a contractor’s guarantee exceeds the time frame put forth by their respective state, this should be taken as a sign of confidence in their abilities.
Confirm That They’re Properly Insured
Proper insurance coverage is vital for both contractors and clients. After all, without the right types of coverage, you may wind up paying for any property damage a contractor causes and assume the medical costs for any injuries they incur. Additionally, depending on the severity of these injuries, you’re liable to be covering certain medical costs for years.
In other words, hiring an unlicensed contractor is a risk that’s simply too big to take. As such, before committing to do business with a contractor, take care to confirm that they’re covered by general liability, professional liability, inland marine, commercial auto, and worker’s compensation insurance. Furthermore, certain types of projects will require additional forms of coverage, and you should never give a contractor the green light to begin work before confirming that they possess the right types of insurance.
Read Reviews From Past Clients
Reading reviews from past clients is among the most effective ways to form an understanding of a contractor’s approach to customer service and the level of professionalism they exhibit. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of websites dedicated to sharing contractor feedback, so finding reviews for a contractor who’s piqued your interest should prove far from difficult.
When making your way through relevant reviews, take note of the various positives and negatives clients list. Furthermore, while every contractor is bound to have an unfavorable review or two, it’s generally a good idea to avoid people for whom negative reviews constitute the majority.
Hiring a contractor who’s unfit for a job or unwilling to approach it in a professional manner can prove immensely frustrating. Not only can working with the wrong contractor pave the way for endless headaches, but it also stands to put you in a difficult spot financially. So, in the interest of preserving your sanity and financial resources, take care to exercise discernment the next time you find yourself in need of a contractor’s services.