2 Mistakes You're Making When Looking for a Contractor
There are two common mistakes that people make when looking for a contractor for an upcoming project. The first is working with a company that does not have a showroom or office location and the second is relying solely on online reviews. The best piece of advice we can offer on any project is preparation, and visiting a showroom and performing additional research is just that.
A contractor with a showroom can designate one very important thing: stability. When a contractor has been in business for years or has put down roots deep enough to build a showroom, it’s a clear indication that they’re here to stay. As you enter the showroom, you have the opportunity to see their work on display and meet their team. The company can present photos of past work, samples of the materials they like to use, and even miniature models of their craft. A contractor’s showroom is a glimpse of their workmanship. If it is cluttered or dirty that can be a warning of how they may work in your home. A showroom that is comfortable, clean, and well-lit can demonstrate the care, attention to detail, and pride that they have for their work.
Researching a company using online reviews is a great way to make initial impressions about a remodeling company, but they only tell half the story. Reading good reviews is a great way to acclimate yourself with a contractor’s past experiences. However, a bad review doesn’t mean that they are a bad contractor. In fact, asking them about that experience can tell you a great deal about how they handle difficult situations. As we all know, a remodeling project requires some slight discomfort or disruptions to everyday life, and everyone has different levels of tolerance.
Going beyond online reviews is the key to finding just the right company to work with. Think of finding a contractor like online dating. Reading online reviews is like sifting through dating profiles. After your initial impressions, you select a few contractors to engage in conversations. Here is a list of questions you may want to ask:
- Do they have a license? A handyman might not need one, but a contractor who is making major changes to your home or business, must have the required licensing.
- Do they have insurance? Just in case there are unforeseeable events that may cause damage to your home or property, you will want to work with someone who is insured. A contractor without insurance is taking major risk and we urge you to steer clear.
- Can I contact any references? Ask to speak to a few of their past customers. This will allow you to get real information outside of a few sentences posted online.
Bonus: Ask for Photos of Similar Past Work
Photos, particularly before and after pictures, can give you a good idea of the work you should expect. Additionally, ask how long a job took so you can mentally calculate the size and duration of a project. Seeing the work that a contractor has done will go a long way to knowing what his company can do for you.