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Things to Look for in a Good Contractor

By Jeremy
February 7th, 2013 - 10:45 AM

Looking for a Good Contractor?

If you are moving long distance, you may not know where to turn for home repairs in your new hometown. A couple years ago, I was in your shoes. We were moving and needed to find a plumber, an electrician, and a painter. I didn’t know where to start. I quickly learned how to find a good contractor. Learn from my mistakes and find out what worked.

How to Find Local Contractors

Of course, you can just take to the phonebook, but you will have a long list to weed through. Just a search in my local phonebook for plumbers gives me 91 contractors. In the words of Youtube sensation Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” So where do you start?

If you used a realtor, ask them for recommendations. They are always dealing with homes, so they probably have a list of trusted contractors. Ask friends for recommendations. You can easily ask your Facebook friends for suggestions, or talk to coworkers and neighbors. If you don’t know anyone in your new town, you can check online reviews at sites like Angieslist.com. I didn’t get reviews on our plumber. We just chose him because he had the lowest price. Well, we have had more plumbing issues in our home because we didn’t choose a good contractor! Make sure you use someone who comes highly reviewed.

Once you have your list narrowed down, it is time to ask the tough questions.

Questions to Ask Contractors

Check for licensing and insurance. Most states require licenses for contractors, so ask for their license information. You can check to see if your contractor is licensed here. Also, contractors should carry insurance to any damages.

What does the price include? As you get a price quote, ask for details about what that price includes. Does it include all materials and labor? How much is paid upfront? Does their work come with a guarantee (2 year guarantee, lifetime guarantee?). Will there be extra costs if the job takes longer than expected? Be sure you cover all those details.

Can the contractor obtain any necessary permits? If you live in a town that requires permits, make sure your contractor can obtain any necessary permits. You can be heavily fined if you complete work without the proper permits!

Be sure and do your homework with contractors. Don’t choose a contractor just because they are the cheapest. Many people get scammed by fly-by-night companies. Never pay upfront for 100% of the cost, either. You should wait until the job is completed to pay in full. Make sure you use a licensed contractor who comes with good reviews so you are happy with the work. There are great contractors out there, and with a little work you can find one for your job. Do you have more tips for finding a good contractor? Leave me a comment!