Renovating a kitchen or bedroom is an exciting time to make something old new again. But unless you are experienced in remodeling a home, chances are that you will need a professional general contractor to complete the work. The challenge is separating the bad one from the good contractor who provides excellent customer service.

Remodeling is an investment that you should make for a job well-done the first time. This article provides seven tips for hiring a reputable contractor for your next home remodeling project. Hopefully, these can eliminate the possibility of turning your dream project into a nightmare.

1. Educate Yourself on the Home Remodeling Project

Grasp an understanding of the basic concepts related to your remodeling contract. While you do not need to know how to do the job, being familiar with certain aspects will guide your questions for the contractor. You can also determine the competency level of the contractor before he or she is hired.

2. Start with Three to Five Potential Contractors

A list of more than one potential contractor helps with the pre-screening process. You can compare bids and determine whether you are comfortable with the contractor’s style. Each general contractor should focus on your needs and desires, and articulate how their services will meet those demands.

3. Verify Whether General Contractors are Licensed and Bonded

Never hire someone to work on your valuable asset who is not licensed and bonded. You can verify this information through the state licensing board. The agency might also tell you if the contractor has complaints from previous customers.

4. Request Referrals from Previous Customers

A reputable contractor will have someone to vouch for their services. Most remodeling contractors will provide contact information from previous customers. Referrals from family, friends and neighbors are another option for finding a reliable contractor. A local home improvement store might also have names of general contractors for your next remodeling project.

5. Ask the Right Questions before Scheduling an Appointment

Another essential part of the pre-screening process is asking questions before the contractor comes to your home. You want to know whether they have completed projects in scope and complexity similar to yours. Ask for their physical office address – be leery of contractors who only have a P.O. box. Question whether they expect cash payment or a check paid to the business name. If they are using subcontractors, make sure the work agreement includes a lien release. This protects you if the contractor fails to pay subcontractors. Additionally, find out if they have the necessary insurances for general contractors.

6. Shoddy Work is Cheap – and Expensive

While the lowest bid is tempting, it might not be the best. A lower price might equate to low-quality materials and work performance. A contractor who is desperate for work might sacrifice premium for substandard work.

7. Get a Written Contract

A written contract will detail everything about the remodeling project from start to finish. Information should include approximate dates when the work begins and ends, total cost and payment schedule. Most reputable contractors will ask for at least one-third of the total cost before work begins.

Renovating your home can be an exciting time when you hire a reputable contractor. Conducting research on what to expect and who to hire can increase your confidence about the remodeling contractor you hire.

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