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Hiring Home Remodelers: Five Questions to Ask

When it’s time to look for a new contractor to complete a house project, most homeowners feel a certain amount of anxiety. You don’t want to grant just anybody access to your personal space. But how do you know whether a contractor is trustworthy, competent and reliable enough to show up and complete the job in a reasonable timeframe? Here are five questions to ask to help you make this important decision.

Can you give me a list of recent local clients?

Check out some of the contractor’s nearby projects. Make sure the contractor takes on jobs comparable to yours. Call their references and find out if they were on time and on budget. The bigger the job, the more time you should take on this step.

What will your company do personally, and what parts of the job will you be subcontracting?

Most contractors subcontract at least some of the work to specialists. But you want to get a feel for the contractor’s own crew. Ask for an employee list to find out how many skilled employees really work for the company. You don’t want your contractor hiring casual laborers off the street. A competent team that has experience working together will give you a much better result in a shorter time.

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How many simultaneous projects will you have going on?

The best contractors are usually busy. So not being able to start right away can be a good sign. However, beware the contractor who spreads himself too thin. If you want the job done this year, you need to find a contractor with the right balance of being in demand but with enough qualified employees to handle timely job completion.

Can you get me that bid in writing?

The way a contractor draws up a bid can tell you a lot about the company. Does the bid look professional? Is it written intelligibly? You can then compare written bids between the contractors you interview. Remember to look beyond price. Payment terms and timeframe are also important.

What questions do you have for me?

Communication is a two-way street. It’s crucial that you and your contractor can have intelligent dialog about the project. A contractor should have plenty of questions about your needs and preferences, and the logistics, materials, suppliers and desired timeframe for your job.

Do your homework

No matter how convincing your contractor candidates are, you’ll still need to do your own research. Check their licenses, and those of major subcontractors. Call the Better Business Bureau and disciplinary boards for complaints and litigation history against the companies you’re considering. Talk to a few recent clients and call some of the subcontractors, too. Ask the subcontractors if the company pays them on time. Online reviews are also helpful, but remember that some of them may be written by friends or relatives.

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Consider adding the Avalon, pictured above, to your home improvement plan.

Old World Stoneworks wishes you the best of luck in your search for the perfect contractor. And if your remodel includes fireplace makeovers or kitchen updates, we’d love to aid your upgrade with one of our gorgeous mantels or range hoods. Call us today so we can be part of your new look. 1-800-600-8336