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10 Simple Steps to a Reliable Remodeling Contractor

10 Simple Steps to a Reliable Remodeling Contractor By Laura Horwitz
HIPhome Columnist
December 31, 1969

Step #1: Start by getting recommendations from friends, neighbors, or even employees at home-improvement stores.

Step #2: Call any contractor you're considering to ensure that they're licensed and insured for personal liability, worker's compensation, and property damage. Ask for proof and check the expiration dates.

Step #3: Don't be afraid to ask for referrals from satisfied customers and follow-up by calling them to ask about their experience. You can also check for any complaints at your local Better Business Bureau.

Step #4: Get bids on the job. Be wary, however, of anyone whose bid is substantially lower than the norm. Ask them why. It can be a sign of inexperience or it can be a new remodeling contractor in town hoping to attract business, but bids too good to be true usually are.

Step #5: Find out the time frame for the job. Is the contractor swamped with work that can split their priorities and make your job take longer?

Step #6: Ask yourself if you like, and feel comfortable with, your remodeling contractor -- will your contractor supervise the site himself or will a different foreman be there?

Step #7: Both you and your contractor should sign a formal written contract that includes your names, addresses, start date, details of all the work (including who's responsible for such specifics as demolition, cleanup, and trash collection), materials, approvals for substitutions of materials, completion date, and details on when and how you will make your payments.

Step #8: A home-improvement contractor should not ask for a deposit of more than 10 percent of the cost or $1,000, whichever is lower. Not all contractors require a deposit.

Step #9: Keep records of the process as you're going through the work, including both photos and written notes.

Step #10: Don't make a final payment until the job has your full approval. State this upfront in your contract.


About the Author
Laura Horwitz has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for five years in both London and the US. She had a monthly landscaping and tips column for the Sussex County magazine RH Review, and her articles have also appeared in Film Focus, 6 Degrees Film, and BizBash magazine.

*Before you apply any of the advice described on the Hip-home.com website, you should consider if the advice is safe and suitable for your individual home situation and consult experts as necessary to evaluate the suitability for your circumstances.
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