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Five Steps To Hiring A Reputable Contractor

By Ruth Williams

As a homeowner, it’s important to know what you can fix yourself, and what you must hire a professional to do. Although there are many scam artists in the world posing as contractors, most tradesmen are qualified and reliable. Here’s a checklist of factors to keep in mind as you search for the contractor that is right for your project.

1. As with any service provided by a company, you should begin your search with the Better Business Bureau. Check for marks on the contractor’s record and ensure that they have up-to-date credentials with the BBB. Your town’s building inspector can also provide useful information regarding the contractor’s qualifications. Recommendations from people you know, as well as references from homeowners who have had projects completed by the contractor, are also helpful.

2. As laymen, we might think a home improvement project will take a long time to complete and cost quite a bit of money, it may not be the case. Look into it for yourself by mapping out details of the proposed project and then hit the library. Find out what such a repair or renovation might typically cost and how long it would take to get done.

3. Make it a point never to work with a contractor unwilling to sign a contract. Get everything about the project in writing, including what you expect to be done, and when the project will begin and end. Specify every detail, including things like the contractor’s team leaving your home broom-clean at the end of their work day and not disrupting your family unnecessarily. Make the work hours clear right up front as well, as in, no one is to arrive before 9 AM to begin work on the renovation.

4. In order to protect yourself from a lawsuit if a contractor’s employees get hurt while working in your home, make sure that he has insurance. It’s not enough to just take his word for it, so get a copy of his Certificate of Insurance, and then call the insurance carrier to confirm his coverage. Ask the contractor if he’s got workmen’s comp coverage as well.

5. Although most contractors are honest, some are not. If you pay for your renovation before it is done, you are taking a big chance that you may regret. There are lots of unscrupulous “contractors” who will take your money and run, so only pay a portion of what you owe until the job is done.

There’s no need to put off home improvements if you know what you’re looking for in a contractor. Making sure you’ve done your research before you start the project will save you a lot of trouble, so be sure to do your due diligence. Get it all down in writing, and pay only a portion until the job is done, and you’ll be protecting yourself as you make improvements to your home.  

Ruth Williams writes articles offering practical advice on home improvement, selecting an online college, raising children, online education, animal training, gardening, and more.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Williams, Ruth "Five Steps To Hiring A Reputable Contractor." Five Steps To Hiring A Reputable Contractor. 11 Jul. 2010. 12 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Williams, R (2010, July 11). Five Steps To Hiring A Reputable Contractor. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Williams, Ruth "Five Steps To Hiring A Reputable Contractor"

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