Remodeling and renovating a home is one way to add value and personalize your space. But if you’re like the average homeowner, you probably know that you’re in over your head when it comes to complicated construction projects.
Largely due to being stuck at home during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans spent a whopping 420 billion dollars on home improvement projects during 2020. That’s Billion, with a capital B.
As you might guess, the home improvement space is quite lucrative for the savvy contractor. But because there’s so much money tied up in home improvements across the country, even the most inexperienced contractors are grabbing a piece of that billion-dollar pie.
So how do you know if you’re hiring a competent contractor? Well, there are a few telltale signs that you’ll want to look for before you shake any hands or sign any contracts.
One simple way to tell if you’re dealing with a professional contractor or not is by the general appearance of the contractor. And we’re not just talking about how a contractor is dressed.
A few things you’ll want to keep an eye out for in particular are if the contractor works out of a home office, or if they have a brick and mortar location. Usually, those who operate out of their home are just starting out, and might not be the most experienced.
Additionally, pay attention to the vehicle that they drive. If your contractor pulls up in a beat-up minivan with a rusty ladder strapped to the top, this might be a good sign to avoid that particular contractor. But if they pull up in a brand new truck or a professional pickup for rent, you’ll probably have a good contractor on your hands.
Check References and Online Reviews
We live in an age where you can leave a review on just about any product or service you can think of. And contractors are no different.
Checking online reviews is perhaps one of the first steps in choosing a quality contractor for your home renovation projects. And if you find that your chosen contractor is lacking a few stars, it’s probably a good idea to interview someone else.
Additionally, you could also ask the contractor for any personal references, or if he or she has any professional work you could view. If the contractor cannot provide any references or a portfolio of any kind, you might want to look elsewhere for services.
Further, checking with your local chamber of commerce to see if your chosen contractor is registered is also a wise strategy. As is checking with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed.
Ask the Right Questions
When you set out to hire a contractor, you really need to treat this process like a job interview. As such, you’ll want to ask industry-specific questions in order to see if your contractor candidate is familiar with basic and advanced terminology regarding the construction industry.
Additionally, you’ll also want to interview a few different candidates before you ultimately make your decision. But if your contractor cannot answer basic questions regarding the industry, he or she is probably not a good fit for the job.
For example, most contractors will know the definition of a load-bearing wall. But many inexperienced contractors might not know the standard spacing for framed centers, or the protocols for installing GFI or GFCI receptacles. And these are the types of questions that you should ask before ever agreeing to have work done.
Looks can be deceiving, and unfortunately, so can business cards. But if you familiarize yourself with the signs of a good contractor and you do your homework, you’ll be much more confident in your ability to hire the right person for the job and get your home renovation project completed to your liking.
Thank you for reading.