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Monday, March 1, 2010

Choosing a Home Improvement Contractor

When improving your home you want to make sure to cover all the bases. Imitate large corporations, not the corrupt part, by setting forth minimum standards. Insurance, Better Business Bureau rating, years in business, and local references, old and new. You might want to check for certifications from manufacturers and trade organizations. If the company uses a salesman, check for his own customer references with the company too.
After narrowing down your field you can give a quick look at the prospective websites for clues as to the overall integrity. If their Google comments seem fake then an ethical key is missing. If they trade on the cross, they are probably crooks. In today world there are too many religions to be picky. Anyway a good Christian won't usually tell you he's a Christian unless he's asked.
Try putting the salesman's name in the Google Search Bar with the trade he's in next to it. For example, you would put my name, Jon Wright, with roofing, or, for that matter, killer. It doesn't hurt to snoop. Call supply houses at random and ask about the companies. All they usually know is that the business in question pays their bills or not.
Compare apples to apples. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If the company is difficult to reach now, it won't get any better later. That's an understatement.
Make sure your name is placed on the general liability insurance as a rider, just like your kid is on your auto insurance.Don't give large deposits until the materials arrive and work has begun. Don't pay the final bill until you've looked the job over. Make sure all aspects of the contract were covered. Check the clean up around, under, and in the job.
Or you could just let the manufacturer pick for you by using their preferred contractor. The problem with trade organizations is that many just take money and do not report on their members. The BBB, Angie's List, and a few others do keep record though.
Lastly, use your gut. If it feels wrong it probably is.
I'd use a combination of the Dallas Better Business Bureau for Dallas roofing companies, the GAF website for Master Elite Roofers, the Metal Roofing Alliance, and the National Roofing Contractors Association, NRCA, as my starting points for roofing companies. For siding their is the Vinyl Siding Institute, VSI, and the Better Business Bureau.
There are so many roofing contractors in Dallas and Fort Worth that it is the only way to narrow down the scope. Roofing in Dallas goes crazy with all the out of town roofers, who also keep a listing so as to seem local, that if you are not careful you'll choose a carpetbagger.

Jon Wright


Ken M. said...

Thank you for your tips! I'm actually planning to do some home improvement for my downtown Boston apartments home and since I have a tight schedule, I will be hiring a contractor.

Anonymous said...

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