Home improvement contractor horror stories are usually just a conversation away. You’ve endured the jargony sales pitches, hard closes, and mountains of confusing data. But alas, after weeks and months of pulling out your hair, you believe you’ve found the right home improvement contractor for your upcoming home improvement project.
Congratulations on having the strength and patience to make it this far. It is now the time to take a deep breath and focus your energy on making sure your home improvement contractor – The Chosen One we’ll call him – is truly the right fit for the project. Make a pot of coffee, sit down at the table with your Chosen One, and make sure to find out the following:
- Who is named specifically on the license? Is this person actually involved with the company or has he merely approved (or sold) the right to use his name?
- Are there any current unresolved cases against his license? Many states post this information. Although it could be an isolated incident, if it’s made its way to the state license board it usually means a nasty situation is on the horizon.
- Is the license about to expire? If it does happen to expire before you sign a contract, it could void the contract.
- Is the license in the same category for the type of work for which you’re looking to hire? For example, a C-17 Glazing license is required for installation of windows. Does your home improvement contractor have this license?
- Is the insurance up-to-date and of enough value? Is it about to expire?
- Can the contractor provide recent photos of previous related work? Also, was this previous related work local? If your Chosen One has recently relocated, it could mean that he had issues in another state and has since relocated for a “fresh start.”
- Can your Chosen One provide you with the names, addresses, phone numbers, and additional information of at least 10 previous clients? Just about every craftsman has this ability so beware if this becomes a sticking point.
We’ve all met a person in the workplace that we might like and trust at the beginning only to find out that this individual is actually just really good at winning friends and influencing people. Neither of these skills have anything to do with whether or not you are going to be happy with the work of this person. The only reality is this individual’s track record, skills, and abilities. Ask a lot of questions. Demand to see photos, certifications, proper documents, and more.
These extra layers of digging will pay off in the long run. If you find anything that seems not quite right, resist the urge to excuse it to save time. The fear of starting a project all over again isn’t a good reason to forge ahead with a home improvement contractor that’s not going to live up to your expectations. Lastly, remember that there are plenty of home improvement consultants out there ready to connect you with a trusted Chosen One.