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Hiring the Right Contractor, and not Just a Con

It’s summertime and that means millions of homeowners are perusing their outdoor living space to find home renovations that need to be done before the cold weather settles back in. The biggest part of doing any work is hiring a contractor. Simply put, there are some really good ones and some really bad ones. And if you hire the latter, you could very well end up needing to do the work again next summer. So how do you make sure you hire the right person for the job, and not someone who just wants to pocket your cash?

Word of mouth is still the biggest tool homeowners rely on for finding a good contractor. While it doesn’t bring with it guarantees of any kind, when a contractor has provided great service and great work to someone you know, it’s a good bet that they take their business seriously – and that they actually have a legitimate business.

If you don’t know anyone that has gotten work done on their home recently, you can go online – but don’t start just by visiting dozens of contractor websites. Instead visit The RenoMark and the Building Industry and Land Development websites. These are great resources that will give you a list of many reputable contractors. All you’ll have to do is choose a few of them and make sure you get at least three different quotes from three different contractors before hiring anyone.

One of the biggest problems homeowners have with contractors is that they often take a large down payment and then leave, usually with much of the work still waiting to be done. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, and you don’t end up paying for the same work twice, make sure you give your contractor only a 10 per cent down payment, with the rest either being given after all or the majority of the work is completed. Some contractors like to set up draw schedules so they can continue getting paid throughout the job. That helps them obtain more materials for that job. However, you should never give a large sum for work that has yet to be done.

Lastly, always always get the agreement between you and the contractor in writing. If something falls through and you don’t have this piece of paper to back you up, it will be your word against theirs and the chances are very good that no one will win.

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