How to Select a Home Improvement Contractor
Selecting someone who will come into your home to make changes whether they are exterior or interior requires thought and evaluation to insure that the work is done by a reputable contractor, is of high quality and protects your family and the value of your home.
At RIHI, we want to help you be sure you are making the right decision for you. To help you in that endeavor, we have created this document with tips and considerations as you decide on whom to use for your home improvement projects, both now and in the future.
Contractor Stability — Part of selecting a contractor is finding one you can count on, not only to do the work, but to guarantee the work for the long term. Home improvement projects are ones you will live with for years to come. You want to be sure that the contractor has the history and the future to be there should you need them.
Some specific questions to ask:
- How long has the contractor been in business?
- How long has the team been in place that will do my work?
- How much experience does the team have in completing the types of project that will be done?
- How long has the contractor been providing services in my market?
Contractor Process and Procedures — One of the best ways to ensure your job is done correctly is to understand what the process is that the contractor uses to do the work. This includes the initial sales presentation on the company, products and pricing to the specifics of your job including measuring, designing and completing the work. If the contractor has well designed and thorough processes that are well documented, you are much more likely to be satisfied with the final result.
Questions here include:
- What are the phases of the work project?
- How will my project be managed?
- Will there be one main point of contact I can call?
- How will you inform me of what is happening with the work effort?
- What is the quality control process during and after the work is completed?
- Does the company have documented professional installation standards and guidelines for the work effort?
- How does the contractor insure the job is built at or above local code and restrictions?
- Is there a job management system that is used such as electronic ordering, project coordination and tasks planning, etc.?
Home Safety and Security — Since work is being done on and in your home, it is important to understand who will be coming into your environment and what the company does to protect you and your property.
Be sure you find out:
- Is the company licensed and bonded to do work in your local municipality?
- How much coverage do they have?
- How does the company qualify its contractors and employees – are there background checks done?
- How can I make sure the person coming to my home is a proper representative of the company?
Warranty — When we have work done, we certainly never believe or anticipate that there will be need for repairs or follow up work, but in the unlikely case that happens, you should have the peace of mind to know that the contractor who does the work has sufficient coverage, strong procedures and the longevity to be there no matter what the issue.
Ensure you know:
- Type and length of warranty?
- What aspects of the work are covered: labor, materials, etc?
- What things are not covered by the warranty?
- If something goes wrong, what is the procedure to have it addressed?
- Can the warranty be transferred?
- What happens to the warranty if the company goes out of business?
Scope of Work — Be sure you fully understand what the contractor will and won’t do as part of your home improvement project. You should know when you start a job what you will need to do and what you can expect your contractor to handle for you and how much time and investment will be needed from you.
- What parts of the job will you do (permitting, material ordering, scheduling, clean up and restoration, inspections, financing, etc.)?
- What parts of the job will I be responsible for?
- How will I know when the job is finished?
- Will I be able to provide a punch list before final payment?
- How do you ensure my satisfaction?
Product Sources and Availability — There are many decisions in selecting a contractor, one of which is the products that will be used and where they come from. Peace of mind here ensures your projects are completed on time and with the kind of materials that you want.
Make sure you understand what that means:
- Where does the product come from?
- Are materials kept in stock or do they need to be ordered specifically for my job?
- If custom orders, how long should I anticipate for delivery?
- What happens if the company doesn’t have the product that was scoped in my job?
- How much business does the manufacturer do with the contractor?
- How long has the contractor worked with the manufacturer?
- How long has the manufacturer been in business?
- Does the contractor provide any exclusive products that I can’t get anywhere else?
Green — In today’s environmentally conscious world, some people care deeply that the contractor they work with is focused on this as a corporate and business standard.
If this is important to you, ask:
- Do you consider your company “green?”
- What specific things do you do to be “green?”
- Do you use green building materials?
No matter who you ultimately decide will do the home improvement project you are contemplating, here at RIHI, we want you to be sure you have the trust and confidence in your partner that provides you complete peace of mind – now and in the future. We believe we deliver this as well as strong value and quality in all our work. And, you can be sure we will be there no matter when you need us. Trust RIHI to help you realize your home improvement dreams!