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  • Writer's pictureJim Butz

An Easy Guide to Selecting the Appropriate Contractor for Your Next Remodeling Project

You’ve decided that your remodeling project needs to get done.  Now you need to determine which contractor is the best man or woman for your needs.  Making sure that you do your homework and take the time to follow some simple guidelines will result in a successful relationship for you and the contractor.

Following these simple steps can save you time and potential aggravation:  

Who are your friends using or recommending?

Word of mouth referrals from friends or family are at the top of the list when choosing a contractor.  If they like their work and you have seen what their contractor has done, this is a huge testament to the contractor.  Chances are high that if your friends or family liked them, you will too.

How long has the business been around?

Another important question to ask is how long has the contractor been in business?  Do they have a credible website?  You want to make sure that their history is solid and what they purport it to be.  Check for onsite testimonials.

What type of car does the contractor drive?

Yes, I said to make sure what type of ride the contractor has.  Hopefully he or she is driving a late model van or pickup truck which is common since reputable contractors need to house their tools and supplies in their vehicle.  If they drive a Hummer or something as impractical, you may want to think twice about handing over a hefty down payment that may be spent on something else other than your job.

Check your local Chamber of Commerce or other community organizations

Your local chamber of commerce can be a tremendous resource for credentialing your potential contractor as well as finding one to use.  Most established contractors are members of local organizations like a chamber of commerce.

Check out the insurance ($0, $150K or $2 mil)

It is important that your contractor is insured.  In the event that anything should happen, you certainly don’t want to assume any liability, or worse, not be able to get it corrected because the contractor carried no insurance.  Insurance amounts can range from $150K to in excess of $2 million.  What’s your house worth? It is your responsibility to make sure that they are insured and have the valid documentation to prove such.

Make sure that you can review a portfolio of recent projects

If the contractor has a credible website, they should have an updated portfolio of their recent projects.  By viewing their work online you can have a better sense of their work and how the finished product looks.

In some cases, contractors may be able to take you to past clients’ homes to see their work.

Make sure that your contractor is certified

As simple as this seems, many people make the assumption that the contractor that they are working with is certified and trained.  Ask to see their credentials.  Certification indicates additional training and continuing education insures current knowledge of the contractor. Architecturally Speaking has the following credentials:

NAHB - National Association of Home BuildersCAPS - Certified Aging In Place SpecialistNAHI - National Association of Home InspectorsCRI - Certified Residential InspectorIllinois State Licensed Home InspectorDegreed Architect

Taking the time to follow these steps when selecting a contractor can make a significant difference in the end result!

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