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How can I find the best contractor for my home improvement project?

1733 Views 14 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  REME
Can anyone suggest me to find right contractor for my home improvement and remodeling project.
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You might want to ask that question on the sister website "HomeRefurbers" Scroll down to the bottom of the page…you'll see it there
Better yet, I'm sure your going to get lots of advice on this question right here on LJ.

My suggestion is to ask your close neighbors, friends and family that have had remodeling done recently.

To me, references are everything. I have done well and made lots of friends/contacts from references.

The trust issue in the beginning is the hardest part to get past.
Is this contractor going to ruin my house or rob me? or - Is this client going to stiff me or be unreasonable?

References can insure, not guarantee, that the contractor has your best interest at heart.

The last thing I need is a pissed off client bitching about me at the block party with their friends, who are my previous clients.

Same thing on your side. Last thing you want is to have your friends find out your stiffed the nice carpenter who did such a nice job for them, he practically became part of their family.

Learn about contracts. look at your friend's old job file to see the change orders, payment schedule and spec sheet and the final statement. Make sure you see the contractor's insurance certificate too.

I know you have a budget to stick to but if you can, make this about a great experience, like an adventure! Remodeling can be fun…..and expect to spend 20% more.

Hint: when the client is nice to work with, I can't help but want to do more than I'm paid to do.

"Don't worry Mrs. H. There won't be any charge for that (unexpected change order). It only took a few hours to fix."
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This is not the answer you are looking for, but this is a great opportunity to buy some new tools, learn some
new skills and some new language. It is long slippery slope, but once you get into it, it is almost fun. It
does take a certain weird liking for tools and work but it has saved me lots of money over the years. If after
some research, you decide you can not do the work, you will at least have a better understanding of what
you are asking your contractor/carpenter to do. Reedwood has some great suggestions to follow.
Contracts, lien waivers and insurance certificates all need to be used. Refernces are the best way to at least get a
good idea as a starting point. Make sure the contractor sticks to a reasonable time line. Don't let them make an entire career out of your job. Make sure he visits the job regularly, preferably daily. Never pay the full project amount up front. Don't use anyone that wants this. Make a reasonable starting payment of at least 25% but no more than 50% and then set progress benchmarks for progress payments. Hold at least 25% until job completion that is to your satisfaction, not just when the contractor says he is done. And make sure that all contractors and subs just do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it.
I once hired an electrical contractor because my dog liked him and didn't like the other two that came by. It worked out great! Ended up using him for about 15 years on my projects.
This is kind of a loaded question on a website definately slanted towards the DIY crowd. Most of us would prefer to do it ourselves.
Still, theres lots of good advice already. References, ask lots of questions-don't move forward until he's answered them all to your satisfaction. Everything should be explained. If he just talks "over" you (makes you feel stupid) and doesn't really answer your questions, that is a red flag.
Remember, you're HIS boss, not the other way around.
"I once hired an electrical contractor because my dog liked him and didn't like the other two that came by. It worked out great! Ended up using him for about 15 years on my projects."

Now that is funny!
Don't hire the guy with the newest most expensive pickup truck. That's asking for trouble. And does he listen to you and ask questions? A lot of guys in that business are arrogant know-it-alls who try to shove a solution you don't want down your throat. Sorry, that's why I try to do everything myself now.
As a former contractor I suggest that you ask your Plumber or HVAC guy or electrician that you like and ask them to recommend a general contractor.

Simply post your projects in any home remodeling resource portal and also take following considerations.

When you hire contractor for your home improvement remodeling project, you need to look into many factors like experience of the contractor, success stories, old projects references and cost of the project and also you must aware of your project budget also.

Hope these tips helps you to select right home remodeling contractor for your project.
+1 on Angie's List. Worth every penny of the subscription fees!

I have used the list to find well-respected services of many kinds. The reviews are real, and accurate!

It's my go-to site whenever looking for a provider of service I need.
I would keep away from the contractors who hire day workers that stand on street corners. No insurance, no workmen's comp, no license. Risky.
This guy is spamming. He just signed up and the only other post he's made has a link to "hirecontractor" website.
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