How to Choose a Contractor For Your Remodel Project


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You’re getting ready to start a home remodeling project that’s a bit too large for you to handle on your own. Unfortunately, we’ve all heard those horror stories about a friend who hired a contractor that did a crummy job or simply vanished mid project. These homeowners were out money and left to try and fix the mess left behind.



So, how do you determine if a contractor is reliable and will do a high quality job? There are a few questions you should ask your contractor that will help you distinguish the good from the bad.

Are you licensed and bonded?

Although the phrase “licensed and bonded” seems to be everywhere, a lot of consumers don’t know exactly what it means. Being licensed means that a contractor has a valid business license to operate legally within a certain area. Being bonded means that the contractor has purchased a surety bond, which guarantees a certain level of professional performance. In most states this is a contractor license bond that contractors must submit along with their businesses license application.

How long have you been working in the industry?

Working with a contractor who has professional experience is comforting to many homeowners. This isn’t to say that


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younger contractors can’t be darn good at what they do, but you want to be sure they know exactly what they’re doing and aren’t using your house as some sort of “learning project.” Ask potential contractors about the kind of remodeling projects they’ve worked on in the past to make sure their prepared to work on your project.



What sort of insurance do you currently have?

If something should go awry with the contractor’s work after the project is completed, you need to know that you will be able to have the problem fixed or else be compensated in some other way. Be sure to confirm that any insurance policies that the contractor attests to will still be in effect when work is begun on your project.

How much do you charge, and why?

We’ve all heard the age-old adage “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” If a contractor gives you a bid that’s substantially lower than those of other contractors in your area, you need to find out why. Conversely, contractors who charge a much higher fee might be trying to take advantage of clients who don’t have exceptional knowledge of the construction industry.

Do you offer any additional guarantees of your work?

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Some contractors will offer personal guarantees of the work they do for a certain period. For example, if you have your roof re-shingled and some of the tiles pop off a few weeks later, the contractor should be willing to come back and reinstall the shingles more effectively.

When it comes to remodeling, there’s nothing worse than investing a lot of money into a contractor or construction company only to end up with a project that doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to. Be thorough in your selection process so that you have peace of mind while remodeling your house.

Kevin Kaiser is a principal at, where he pioneered the Surety Bond Education Program to inform consumers and industry’s professionals with updates on developing regulations.

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