How To Find A Good Local Contractor

Home improvement projects are great unfortunately it's usually the finding and hiring of a good contractor to do the job that typically puts a damper on our mood to forge ahead with the project. But finding and hiring a good local contractor doesn't have to be the nightmare and disaster it's depicted to be online and by some of our friends and family members. The fact is that finding a good local contractor is difficult and there is a bit of work involved but it's not the nightmare that many make it out to be.

To borrow some old clich├ęs finding a good local contractor for your next home improvement project is not rocket science and it's akin to finding a needle in a hay stack. You're basically going to hire someone temporarily to work inside your home so it's best to visualize yourself as an employer hiring someone to do a job.

What does that mean?

All it means is that you should probably check out the applicants (in this case a contractor) work history, qualifications and references. You'd be amazed how many homeowners hire a contractor based on a referral or even worse they just pick the first name out of the Yellow Pages...

If you to find and hire a good local contractor it is recommended that you put together at least three good bids from three comparable contractors. To ensure that you're looking at comparable bids it's essential that you pre-screen or pre-qualify the contractors prior to having them bid on your project.

To pre-qualify the contractors it's a good idea to start by checking to see if the contractor has a license. To obtain a license a contractor is fingerprinted, has his background checked and takes a competency test administered by the state. You can check to see if a contractor has a license by doing a Google search for your state's licensing board. You can check online in most states and all you'll need is the contractor's name, business name or license number.

To continue with the pre-qualification process you want to look for reviews, feedback and complaints for the contractors you are pre-qualifying. You can begin by doing a search in Google, Yahoo or Bing for the contractor's name or business name and add words like review or complaint. More and more homeowners are sharing their opinions of contractors online so this can be a great way to find general feedback on contractors.

You'll also want to cover the basics like checking for a local business address and a local phone number. A contractor with a long history is also a sign of a good contractor. The last thing you want to do is hire a contractor who's going to leave town with your hard earned money!

At this point some of the contractors should be looking better than others. It's probably a good idea to contact the best contractors and have them bid on your project. While communicating with them you'll want to go over a couple of more things.

First and foremost you'll want to gets some references from the contractors. Any good local contractors should have at least a few recent references that you can speak with. Speaking with past clients and actually seeing a contractor's past work is the best way to determine what kind of work a contractor is capable of. If at all possible ask the contractor to help you set up meetings with past clients. You can also ask if the contractor is working on any existing jobs so you can stop by to check out his handy work and evaluate how he maintains a job site.

You also want to make sure that the contractor you hire is properly insured. Insurance is critical when hiring a contractor particularly if they have employees. It is essential that the contractor you hire have General Liability insurance and Worker's Compensation insurance if he has any employees.

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