Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How to find a good contractor

I have been very luckily that my Dad is an carpenter/contractor and we haven't had to hire a construction or a handy man to do any home repairs. In the 11 years that we have owned our house, my Dad (and my husband as the helper) have replaced a roof, added sliding, windows, basement updates and many odds and ends. That has saved us a lot of money and probably a lot of stress as well. However we do have some remodeling that we will probably do within the next 3-6 years such doing an addition.

The Today Show did story on how to find and how to hire a contractor. Here are some of their tips:

How to find one

  • Talk to your neighbors next door.
  • Cruise the neighborhood.
  • Ask your real estate broker

I do drive around the neighborhood when I see any second levels being added on to house and write down the names of the company and website. )

How to hire one

  • Hire someone local.
  • Get three estimates.
  • Check out his truck.
  • Call three past customers.
  • Visit a job.
I especially like the check out his truck
In all my experience, this is the most reliable gauge out there: Go have a look at that contractor’s truck. If it’s a mess, the job he’s going to run is going be a total mess. You have to appreciate, the truck is that contractor’s office, and how he manages his truck is exactly what he’s going to do with your job. So have a look at his truck.

What questions to ask
  • “What is your availability?”
  • “How long will it take to complete the job?”
  • “How many people do you have working for you?”
  • “Will you be personally on the job each day?”
And what should you include in the contract
  • Change orders.
  • Clean-up.
  • Number of workers each day.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Permits, permit fees and inspections.
  • Exclude fixtures and appliances.
  • Hold last third of monies until job is completed.

A lot of this advice sounds like common sense, but that maybe because I have been around the construction business all of my life. If if sounds too good or the estimate is way below the others, it maybe the contractor is simply desperate to get work and not really any good!

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