How to Find a Great Contractor in Pfafftown ?
A quick online search targeting Pfafftown is enough to scare you off from ever hiring a contractor. The Web is full of horror stories from families who hired a contractor who:
- Ran off with their money without ever performing the work
- Did the work so poorly they had to hire someone else to fix the job at double or triple the cost
- Took months or even years to complete a project, for tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget
If your area has recently gone through a major storm, such as a hurricane, tornado, hail storm, or flood, you also need to watch out for “storm chasers.” These are contractors who swoop in from out of Pfafftown to fix homes damaged by a recent natural disaster. While some of these contractors are legitimate, many are just looking to make some quick cash and then hit the road before homeowners discover their shoddy work.
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Finding a quality home improvement contractor is not always easy. Anybody can sell you on something that sounds great, but how can you know if you're really dealing with a quality company? Home improvement companies come in all varieties, from shysters to newbies to companies that have been in business for decades. These ten tips will help you pick out the best fit for you no matter what kind of company, from a replacement window contractor to a roofer, you may need.
1) Does the company offer free estimates?
Never go with a company that doesn't value a relationship with you enough to do a free estimate. When you pick a company you'll be spending quite a bit of money with them, so they should be willing to invest a bit of time in you.
2) Does the company offer an honest estimate? Is it detailed?
Many people don't know that there's a difference between an estimate and a bid. A bid is a legally binding statement, while an estimate is not. Some unscrupulous companies will pitch a too-low estimate to sell to you then and then hit you on the back end with "fees" they tacked on. If you get detailed, realistic prices and time frames, you increase the odds that it's an honest estimate. In addition, the detailed estimate gives you legal recourse if the company does work you didn't authorize.
3) What kind of customer guarantee does the home improvement company give?
How long do you have to report problems? What kind of certification can a given home improvement contractor give you on his or her workers? What kind and quality of materials do they use? You should be asking these questions in the initial meeting and get it in writing on any contract. If the answers are vague or deceptive, run.
4) How willing is the company to work with your schedule?
Of course, you don't necessarily want people in your home you don't know. However, some home improvement jobs can take several days or even a couple of weeks? If the job is only on the outside, say you're getting a roof replaced, you don't necessarily have to be there. However, if entering your home is required, are they willing to work with your schedule?
5) Is the contractor insured, and what protection do you get out of it? Do you have any liability?
Let's say you're having your roof fixed and a worker falls off into your bushes, breaking his or her arm. Who's responsible for taking that worker to the hospital, who's responsible for paying the bill, and who ultimately is liable for what? Any decent company is insured and does not hold you liable for accidents common in the line of work. Get all liability spelled out in the contract.
6) Is the contractor truly knowledgeable in the area you want improved?
If you're wanting energy-efficient windows replaced then a "general contractor" who's done roofing for fifteen years probably is not the right contractor for you. Make sure the home improvement contractor you pick has plenty of in-depth detailed experience with the specific improvements you're having done.
7) Does the company belong to the local Better Business Bureau?
BBB seals don't always mean a lot on the Internet, but they still pull their weight locally. If, for instance, you live in Cincinnati, Ohio and you want to know a contractor's worth, the contractor that's part of the local Better Business Bureau has been around for years and has a reputation to maintain, while one who isn't may be a fly-by-night company.
8) Does the company offer financing? If so, is it legitimate?
Some companies are large enough to be able to offer their own financing. Others don't want to deal with the headache of an entire finance department. If contractor-provided financing is important to you, be clear on that when first talking to contractors. If one offers you financing, check it out thoroughly. Are they doing it in house? Do they have an arrangement with a bank? Do they charge a reasonable interest rate or too high? When do payments start? Any financing is, at heart, the extension of a line of credit. If the company isn't doing the same checks as a credit card company, look twice.
9) Does the contractor have offices you can visit?
Some contractors are one-person specialist affairs and may even work out of a home office, while others are larger companies with their own offices. No matter what kind or size of contractor you're dealing with, you should be able to visit an office. You're not going to get home improvement from a company across the country, you're going to get it locally. Therefore, their physical offices should be accessible and professional. If you can't visit their office the company could easily be a fly-by-night operation to take your deposit and disappear.
10) Can you get references you can look up and call on your own? Would any references be willing to have you visit to see examples of the home improvement company's work?
This one should be a no-brainer, but all too often it's a detail that gets overlooked in the furor of home improvement contracting. Can you see examples of their work? Can to talk to people they've done work for in the past? Just one reference doesn't cut it, nor do three who you can't find in the phone book. Anyone can pretend to be three different people, and it's easy to get call forwarding for three different numbers.
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The good news for anyone interested in finding a home improvement contractor is that it is not a difficult task and often you won't need to do anything more than look at the yellow pages where you can then go over all of the list of home improvement contractors. Of course, you must keep in mind that opting for the largest advertisement is not always the best course of action and it in fact requires a little more in-depth research before you are able to find a home improvement contractor that fits the bill in every way.
Using one of the popular search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo! is another good way of finding a home improvement contractor. In fact, this option will prove to be very convenient as you won't need to visit different contractors because all of the relevant information will be readily available online. You can be sure that each home improvement contractor will provide their online background data as well as sample photographs of previously completed works for you to assess their capabilities.
An online search is probably the best way of find a home improvement contractor and to get more relevant hits you need to use terms that apply to certain locations as well as certain industries. Online searches will allow you to not only find a home improvement contractor but to also compare different contractors and also get quotes online so that the whole process of hiring is greatly simplified.
Yet another option is to check out a directory of home improvement contractors. This is an online list that will help you find one in your neighborhood, and in addition, it will also provide information regarding the type of business a home improvement contractor is engaged in and there is also information available about the contractor's experience.
An online home improvement contractor's directory is a simple yet effective means of find a home improvement contractor and once some prospective contractors catch your attention you can then contact them over the phone and get clarifications about the type of work you want done. Of course, you should also ask for references and be sure that he has the necessary skills and experience to satisfactorily complete your work.
Even word of mouth is a good and effective way of finding a home improvement contractor and so it will be a good idea to talk to family members and friends for more leads. The factor that is most important in deciding who is going to do your home improvement work is the quality of work that the contractor is able to show.
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Still, there are plenty of honest and trustworthy contractors out there. How do you find one in Pfafftown? It takes time, work, and patience, but your efforts will pay off.
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