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5 ways to pick the perfect contractor

The right contractor for any remodel, from kitchen to bathroom to entire house, can save you headaches, time and money.

Choosing the right contractor can mean a successful project from beginning to end. Picking the right one, however, can be tough. Follow these six tips to help you determine the best constructor for your next construction job.

1. Request referrals

Family, friends and neighbors aren’t usually shy about recommending someone who’s done a good job, especially when it comes to contractors. Ask for details about what they liked or didn’t like about a specific contractor. Was he under budget? Was the work finished on time or under the deadline? How was he about the details and finishing one thing before moving on to another? Would they use this contractor again?

2. Seek references

Visit the contractor’s website or pick up the phone to gather your own data on the contractors you are considering. Look for licenses, certifications, awards and other achievements. Ask for references from former clients, then call to check references. What was this contractor’s attitude when late changes or unexpected obstacles were introduced into the project? Could something have been done differently? Keep in mind you’re not purchasing a product but a service, so quality of product relies on quality of service.

3. Quiz contractors

List your top three contractors then arrange meetings with each. Arrive with a list of questions and be prepared to answer a few questions. Your potential contractor wants to know what he’s getting into as well.

4. Business credentials

Find the company’s permanent mailing address, business phone number, fax machine and voice mail. Does he have liability insurance? Ask for a copy.

5. Put it on paper

Examine the contract for fairness and balance. Look specifically for the bid price and payment schedule, a site plan, a schedule of the construction order, change-order clauses, a written process list for close-out, a warranty, a dispute resolution and a lien waiver.

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