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Tips on Choosing a Quality Contractor for Service Work

Home improvement contractors around the country have seen an increase in the calls for repairs and services. Heavy rains in the west and snowstorms in the east earlier this year have left behind interior and exterior damages to homes. Many of these repair projects require experts, but the homeowner is sometimes at a disadvantage when seeking a professional through the yellow pages or a web search. A homeowner needs reputable recommendations from friends and neighbors and then needs to formulate a plan to choose a good contractor.

To begin, the homeowner should ask for the license number, insurance coverage and a physical address/phone number for the contractor. A contractor is required to have a license for their particular specialty and should have liability, disability and worker’s compensation insurance, or the consumer could be at risk. In addition, all contractors should have basic information about their physical location, contact phone numbers and electronic mail addresses.

A quick call to the Better Business Bureau can provide any information about complaints against the contractor in question. The BBB provides a strict business practice code and while membership is voluntary, the contractor does agree to abide by these practices. In addition, the contractor may belong to other associations and should be able to provide that information for any caller.

Also, you can check reviews online such as Mojo Pages, Kudzu, Angie's List or Google Places. See what others have to say about a company.

Once you have secured basic information, ask for references. Many professionals provide testimonials on web sites, but the homeowner is advised to call references before beginning any job. Ask the reference about the timeliness of the completed job, professionalism of the contractors, preparation and clean up and cost versus estimate.

Finally, before agreeing to any work, ask for an estimate and contract. Make sure the estimate and contract include a projection of how long the work will take, from start to finish. Review the contract carefully, seeking clarification, if needed. Ask how the contractor expects to be paid and when payment is expected. Any contractors that ask for a large amount of money before the job can begin should be avoided.

In this age of widespread scams, the home or business owner should be wary and should ask questions before agreeing to or paying for any proposed work. Reputable contractors can make the home remodeling process a much more pleasant experience, but do the necessary homework to find a great service provider.

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