While price is an issue when choosing a contractor, you should weigh it carefully against other considerations. A low price from an unqualified contractor may not mean a cost savings.
So, how do you judge whether a contractor is qualified and has a valid price? Remember, more important than how long a contractor has been in business is how he’s performed work in the past.
1. References. Reputable contractors are happy to provide names of satisfied customers whose job requirements were similar to yours. Call the contractor’s references and ask them how he performed his work. For additional assurance that the contractor is reputable, contact the Better Business Bureau, trade organizations and/ or the contractor’s suppliers.
2. Materials. A contractor trained in the performance of various materials has the knowledge to select those that are best for your job. Ask for written specifications on materials to be used on your job and why. Use the specifications to compare the type and quantity of materials you’re getting for your money.
3. Equipment. A good contractor needs the right equipment and a skilled, trained crew to be efficient. This allows him to finish the job with minimum disruption to you. Ask to see photos of his equipment, and or visit a current job site.
4. Compliance. Contractors must have the required state and local permits, and comply with state regulations and environmental restrictions (EPA and OSHA). They should provide staff and customers with “safety data sheets” on all materials to be used.
5. Protection. The contractor should be willing to show you a certificate of liability insurance and Workmen’s Compensation for your protection.
6. Accountability. After inspecting your job site your contractor should give you a written proposal. This proposal should detail the scope of the project including; area dimensions, material specifications, installation procedures and the exact amount of money you will pay. A quality contractor is happy to give you a written guarantee of performance.