There are a variety of reasons for which homeowners work with contractors. Whether it’s large-scale repairs or renovations, the right contractors can get the job in a timely and cost-effective manner. However, as anyone who’s regularly done business with them can attest, not all contractors are created equal. While a fair number of them are trustworthy and obliging, others are consistently undependable, dishonest and inefficient. Further, it’s not always easy to tell which is which, as many contractors who fall into the latter category are able to present themselves well. To help prevent yourself from getting stuck with the wrong contractor, make a point of avoiding the following blunders.
Proceeding Without a Contract
Allowing a contractor to get started without first getting everything in writing is among the biggest mistakes you can make when having work done on your home. In the absence of a solid contract, you’re liable to find yourself stricken with a serious case of sticker shock upon being presented with the final bill. The lack of a contract essentially gives contractors free license to pile on additional charges and bleed you dry financially. With this in point, make a point of getting everything in writing before committing to do business with a contractor. Before allowing work to commence, have the contractor present you with a detailed list of material and labor costs, as this will ensure that you know exactly what you’re paying for.
Making Hiring Decisions Based Exclusively on Price
In most cases, good contractors don’t come cheap – and wanting to spend as little money as possible at all times is basic human nature. While there’s nothing wrong with being careful with your money, it’s important to remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. When working with contractors, many homeowners come to understand the adage “You get what you pay for.” In other words, if price is the only thing that matters to you, you may not be happy with a contractor’s level of professionalism or the quality of their work.
Of course, this isn’t to say that every inexpensive contractor is bad – or that every contractor who charges exorbitant rates is good. However, by doing a little research and consulting client reviews, you should be able to make an informed decision.
Not Looking for Feedback
You’d be hard-pressed to find a contractor – or any type of professional, for that matter – who doesn’t bill themselves as highly dependable. However, to get the full story on any contractor, you’ll need to do some online research. Fortunately, finding reviews and feedback from other consumers is easier than ever in the digital age. Popular consumer review sites and message boards are goldmines of useful information about local contractors, as well as an extensive assortment of other businesses.
When perusing client reviews, take note of any qualities they mention that you find particularly admirable or repugnant. If the feedback you come across is overwhelmingly positive, this should provide you with tremendous peace of mind. On the flipside, if the feedback is largely negative, you’d be wise to explore other options.
Not Confirming Licensing or Insurance
When searching for the right contractor, it’s recommended that you limit your choices to individuals that are both licensed and insured. While contractors who lack licensing and/or insurance tend to charge less than their licensed, insured contemporaries, the quality of their work is generally lacking by comparison. Furthermore, there’s generally less accountability if something goes wrong during the course of their work.
Before committing to do business with any contractor, request to see proof of licensing or insurance. Should they try giving you the runaround or refuse to provide it, simply take your business elsewhere. Louisianans on the hunt for licensed, insured contractors should go online and search for “roofers in Alexandria, LA”.
It pays to acquaint yourself with dependable contractors. Having a stable of reliable handymen in your contacts ensures that the next time you encounter a pressing aesthetic, electrical or structural issue with your home, you’ll know exactly who to call. However, if you haven’t already cultivated preexisting relationships with local contractors, separating the good from the bad may seem somewhat daunting. Fortunately, by steering clear of the previously discussed blunders, you can significantly decrease your chances of getting stuck with a lemon.