Looking for the right general contractor

One of the biggest headaches we have all encountered when we begin our search for a home improvement contractor is how do we know he’s the right one? Most importantly, how do I find information about him/her?

Contractors requires valid licenses to pull permits. Your local government website should be able to provide links for you to look up license info on a contractor. This way you will know whether his license is up to date and valid.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions!!!

Ask for insurance. Most contractors are required to carry liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance especially if they have subcontractors or other workers on the job.

Ask for references. There are now customer referral sites available so that you can read the reviews from other people who have used the service, but you may have to pay for them. Don’t be afraid to ask the contractor for 2-3 references and make sure you CALL CALL CALL!

Other places you can look for information on a contractor are sites like Better Business Bureau or your local government website. You can find out whether any complaints have been filed against the contractors.

To help you with your home improvement search, I will provide you a check list:

(please note that some of these information apply to Massachusetts residents, check your local government website for more information)

Ask to see a license

Construction Supervisor (needed to pull a permit and structural work).
You can validate the licenses at http://db.state.ma.us/dps/licenseelist.asp

Home Improvement Contractor (needed for all home improvement work).  You can validate the licenses at http://db.state.ma.us/homeimprovement/licenseelist.asp

Get insurance binder from the contractor’s insurance company

Get references (2-3)

Always get a written warranty or contract for jobs above $1000

Ask for professional associations:
Better Business Bureau
National Association for Remodeling Industry
National Association of Home Builders

Remember that a cheaper quote is not going to guarantee quality work.

Ask yourself why it is cheaper?
Are they using cheaper materials?
Are they cutting materials?
Will this need fixing again in 2-3 years?

Remember to always protect yourself and protect you valuable home!