Research General Contractors Before Hiring a Firm to Work on Your Home

Take a second look at your investment portfolio. Chances are your home continues to be the single biggest investment you own. If you decide to build a new home or make improvements to the one you currently have, take time to research general contractors in Scotch Plains to ensure you get one that does the job right the first time. Most contractors are honest and reputable, but, in terms of consumer complaints, home improvements are at the top of the list. What questions should be asked of a general contractor and what should you request of them before you hire one?

* Request a copy of the customer’s business license and check the expiration dates. Follow up by calling the issuing authority to ensure the license remains in good standing. If a contractor doesn’t have a license, continue looking as this likely means he or she has not met the requirements for licensing as they failed a test or didn’t meet any requirements for experience, things of that nature.

* What types of insurance do you carry? Choose a contractor that has workers compensation and general liability insurance at a minimum. If a worker is injured on your property, the workers compensation insurance covers any medical bills and other expenses related to the injury. The general liability insurance protects you in the event your home is damaged due to negligence or a mistake on the part of the contractor, his employees or any sub-contractors hired by the contractor. Be sure to follow up and check that both policies are in place and have yet to expire. The insurance ensures you are protected in all situations.

* Is the bid an estimate or is this the price I will pay? If you are given an estimate, take the time to have the general contractors address any unknowns so you are given a fixed price rather than an estimate. Have the contractor itemize the bill so you understand exactly what you are paying for. If changes are made during the project, you’ll know exactly how much you will save. If a contractor refuses, find another one who will provide an itemized bid.

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions, such as how long the company has been in business, which suppliers are used and what guarantees are provided. The more you ask, the more confident you will be in your choice. Your investment will be protected also.

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