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Choosing a Contractor That Fits Your Needs

Aug 17, 2007
When it comes to entering a major construction job for your backyard or you want a new look for your kitchen, many homeowners most often need professional help to get their projects going in the right direction. This is when choosing a contractor becomes an important part of realizing the home improvement needs you have set for yourself.

The type of project you wish to complete for your residence will help determine the kind of help you will need to enlist. For example, larger goals require the assistance of a general contractor, while less involved tasks call for the aid of subcontractors.

When homeowners are looking to add an extra room to their house or upgrade their landscape complete with pool, a general contractor should be contacted. The general contractor will head the entire project, acting as the primary coordinator. They are responsible for hiring the appropriate subcontractors to fulfill project goals. After delegating the proper tasks to relevant subcontractors, a general contractor will then manage their progress. Major renovations and building new homes will usually demand the expertise of a general contractor.

When hiring a general contractor, you will establish a contract with them, meaning they'll be the only worker you are responsible for paying. The general contractor pays any subcontractors that they hire, as they will be under contract to them and not the homeowner.

For every aspect of home improvement, there is a subcontractor who is knowledgeable in one or more specific fields. Depending on the type of remodeling or home expansion projects you have in mind, you may call upon the following subcontractor options: electricians, plumbers, excavators, water proofers, foundation wall repairers, carpenters, floorers, or painters.

Tips on Choosing a Contractor

As you inch your way closer and closer to a construction job or remodeling adventure, choosing a contractor is an important part of completing a successful project. As you listen to the experiences of family and friends, or sift through the Yellow Pages, you probably need a little assistance in making this decision a beneficial choice. Below you will find a few areas of interest to consider when it comes time to select a contractor.

After deciding to enhance the look and feel of your house, you should gather a few listings of contractors before settling on one. Need help finding a contractor? While general, as well as sub-contractors advertise in the newspaper, telephone book, and the Internet, there are also professional organizations, such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), as well as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), who can locate worthy contractors.

Once you've narrowed down potential contractors, you should check out how he or she conducts their business. For starters, you may contact the local Better Business Bureau to see if any former clients have placed a complaint against them. Also, visiting a job site allows you to see the contractor work on current projects. During a visit, it is important to note the safety, cleanliness, neatness, and conduct of the worker(s). This is a telling sign as to how your home improvement project might be handled.

If you like what you see and have learned after conducting research, you should make an office visit or place a telephone call to potential contractors. When carrying out an interview, you should ask questions that pertain to the size of your project; financial limitations; timelines; dates; scheduling; liability insurance; workers' compensation; licenses and certificates; and previous clients and job experience.

During the selection process, you should ask to see the licenses of potential contractors. You should also know that an occupational license is not acceptable enough to reward a construction project. To get an idea of the type of work they may offer, you should request and contact the references of past customers. When inquiring on payment terms, avoid contractors who ask to be paid in cash or demand large payments before any work is completed.

Once you choose a contractor, it is important to stay on top of their actions. For instance, it is essential to make sure your contractor obtains all of the appropriate permits for major jobs. If your home improvement project involves the addition of a room; creating a second story; or remodeling major areas, it is rather key to choose a contractor that is qualified enough for the job. This means checking credentials and scrutinizing their past work history. Also, before any work is started, a clear and fair contract should be drawn up and signed, which is one of the best ways to protect both the interests of homeowner and contractor.
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