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  • Andre S.

Top five fundamental steps to choosing the right contractor

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Hiring a general contractor is a huge step when facing a construction project ranging from deck builds to home additions. Hiring a dependable and reputable contractor ensures fulfillment of contractual obligations according to the terms outlined in contract. All to often, you hear stories of homeowners being hit with with unknown charges or unfinished work. This article outlines 5 crittcal things to take into consideration when choosing a contractor.

Verify the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured

The first step prior to choosing any contractor is making sure they are licensed, bonded and insured. In Washington state, all contactors must be registered with Labor and Industries, and must carry insurance and bond for protecting the public. Imagine hiring a contractor to reroof a home who ends up abandoning the project or inadequately installing new shingles. Rain water could enter the home causing substantial damage and your recourse may be severely curtailed as the contractor you hired was unqualified.

In order to verify a contractor, visit the labor and industries website and type the business name.

Verify Work Experience

Make sure that the contractor you hire can competently handle the work he undertakes. A contractor should be familiar with all codes regarding installation to ensure the longest possible product life based on manufactures warranty. Furthermore, a competent contractor will pull permits from city when required, typically for new construction or structurally altering work. Hiring a contractor lacking experience may result in poorer quality of work and premature failure and deterioration of materials.

Review Contract

Failure in communication between a home owner and a contractor often results in a negative experience where a homeowner may feel taken advantage of. It's the responsibility of a general contractor to communicate the scope of work being performed with the client to make sure both parties are on the same page. Prior to signing a contract, you should understand the scope of work being performed from start to finish. Ask your contractor about unforeseen expenses and establish a timeline from start day to date of completion. The warranty should also be stated clearly in contract.

Receive Multiple Quotes

Although not all General contractors or sales representatives recommend you receiving multiple bids, there is no question that as a homeowner - it is in your best interest and see what companies have to offer. Prices may vary drastically depending on the contractor you choose. Receiving multiple quotes from different contractors gives you a price range to choose from. It is important to note that a bid significantly lower than others may be attributable to lack of experience and a willingness to cut corners.

Characteristics of Contractors you Want to Avoid

Within any industry, their is a percentage of what one may call "bad apples". Construction is no different. No one would like to be the victim of a dishonest and incompetent contractor, here are red flags of a GC you'll want to avoid. Firstly, strong pressure to sign documents even after explaining that you would like to take time to think things through. Secondly, avoid contractors with very low bids. If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Pay attention to professional appearance as it may be a good reflection of the level of quality to be performed on your home. Avoid contractors who don't pull necessary permits.

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