Selecting a Contractor

Whether the search is for a general contractor or a specialist such as a roofer, plumber, electrician, or painter, there’s a contractor selection checklist to follow.
When selecting a building contractor for new construction or a residential remodeling project, the homeowner must use caution. It’s going to be expensive, cabinet installation must be done properly with respect to plumbing fixtures and electrical circuits, and a project time line schedule must be adhered to to minimize inconvenience to the occupants.
Follow a Contractor Checklist
When the selection is done methodically to vet the construction company’s qualifications, the process is easy. Here are the items which should be addressed.
Verify the Company History
How long has the contractor been in business? Has it always operated under the same name? A company that changes names should raise a red flag. This might be done to get a clean slate with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or to lower insurance rates.
Does the company occupy a business address or does the contractor operate out of his garage and truck? This isn’t always a good thing or bad thing, but know the reason for it.
Does the Construction Company enjoy a Good Reputation?
What is the construction company’s standing with the BBB? Complaints happen for many reasons; it’s important to be sure none are unresolved.
Ask for a reference list from prior remodeling projects, preferably for the same kind of work being proposed, ie., a new backyard swimming pool, a deck and hot tub installation, exterior or interior painting, installing vinyl siding, or building a free-standing patio cover.
Call the references. Ask if the work was done properly and on schedule, whether the building crew was courteous and cleaned up on a daily basis.
Ask About the Business Model Employed
Many contractors follow different business models. Do they employ their own construction crews, or do they rely on sub-contractors? Again, not necessarily a good or bad thing – it’s usually a matter of the scope of the enterprise.
But a good building contractor will use their own crews, and rely on subs for specialty work that require special contractor licensing such as electrical or plumbing installation.
Verify Insurance and Bonding
Proper insurance and bonding is not negotiable, except for perhaps very minor handyman work such as painting touch-up.
General liability and workers compensation both fall under the insurance umbrella. Why should a homeowner care about workers compensation? Because if a worker gets hurt on the job (think power tools, ladders, back strains, etc.), the homeowner can be sued!
Are They Registered with a Construction Commission?
But even for building projects of smaller scope, registration is preferred because it demonstrates a level of stability and professional workmanship, like that supplied by this local Sheffield company.
Two Final Tips for Entering Into a Construction Contract
Never provide any upfront money. Asking for pre-construction money might be a sign of a fly-by-night operator and gives the contractor no incentive to finish the job or even do a good job. Either finance the job or phase the job and release the payment in the form of draws after inspecting and approving the work accomplished.
Don’t be pressured to sign any contract on the day the bid is submitted. There’s no reason for suffering from buyer’s remorse. Anyone who has bought a new car or big-screen, knows what this is all about.