The 5 Boxes Your Contractor MUST Check
Finding the right contractor is stressful.
It’s hard to know who to trust with your home. Here are some questions you can ask to narrow down your search.
1. 🔲 EATS UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES?
You know that part of your favorite fix-it show when Skip or Johanna have to call the customer to ask them to pay thousands more than what they originally quoted them? Sure ya do. You know it well. It’s in every episode, it’s always right before a commercial break, it’s fraught with drama, and it scares a lot of people away from remodeling.
We have good news. That phone call isn’t how remodeling goes in real life. It’s added for dramatic effect to keep you from flipping the channel.
In real life, your contractor should catch all that in the initial appointment and it should be included in your estimate. NOT added on during the project.
At HOMEfix, once you sign your final estimate, that price is locked in and won’t change unless you decide you’d like to change the scope of work. That means that if we miss something, we’ll “eat” the cost. We like to say “we eat unforeseen circumstances for breakfast, lunch, and dinner”, because it sounds good. But the truth is doesn’t happen that often.
Not every contractor eats the cost of unforeseen circumstances. In fact, we’re the only contractor (that we know of) that does. We do it to give you peace of mind that the cost of your project isn’t an abstract idea, but a firm and final number.
2. 🔲 BEEN IN BUSINESS LONGER THAN 5 YEARS?
Ron had his roof replaced a few years ago and went with the cheapest roofing contractor he could find. They had a warranty so he figured he’d be covered. Last year his roof started leaking. He went to call the roofing company but… boop boop boop …his call could not be completed as dialed. His contractor had gone out of business. Ron had run out of luck.
It’s important that the contractor you choose to hire runs a stable business because there’s a chance you may need them to come back out to patch something up at some point. That’s one reason why cheaper isn’t always better. Your contractor needs to have been in business for a minimum of 5 years. HOMEfix was started right here in Colorado Springs in 2007.
Now that you know they’re a legitimate business, make sure they treat people well and do things the right way. Google them. Read some reviews. Know who you’re doing business with.
3. 🔲 START TIME?
“We can start tomorrow!” If a contractor says they can start tomorrow, that’s a huge red flag. If they’re a reputable and stable company, they’re
scheduled out at least a week for the vast majority of the year.
Once they do start, a typical remodel should take between 4-8 weeks depending on the size and scope of the project. Typically, the biggest factor in a project’s timeline is the availability of chosen materials.
Before HOMEfix starts a new project, we create a detailed schedule for you with a hard deadline.
4. 🔲 WARRANTY?
Just having a warranty isn’t good enough. Ask how often your contractor gets warranty claims. If it’s more than a few per month, that’s a sign of poor quality.
If they claim they never have warranty claims, they might not be telling the whole truth (no one’s perfect) and may find ways to avoid actually fulfilling their warranty.
5. 🔲 LICENSED AND INSURED?
Leslie hired a friend of a friend to save some money on a small bathroom refresh. The guy ended up getting hurt during the project. It happens. Unfortunately, he was unlicensed and uninsured. So when he filed for workman’s comp, Leslie was responsible for his medical bills and lost wages. Total nightmare.
Not everyone who claims to be a contractor is a licensed contractor. If your contractor is unlicensed and uninsured, you are responsible for their work.
Check and make sure your contractor is licensed and insured. Don’t just take their word for it. Look them up on the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department’s website to be sure: pprbd.org.
Your contractor needs to be able to pull a permit for the work. If you go with the cheapest contractor, you could go to sell your house only to learn that your “contractor” never pulled a permit. That could be a deal breaker for the sale and cost you thousands by having to lower your asking price or tear apart your house just to pass inspection. Not fun.
If a contractor ever asks you to pull a homeowner’s permit, fire them immediately. They’re almost certainly trying to shed accountability and put it on you.
Also, scammers will sometimes pose as contractors, ask for a deposit and then do a vanishing act. It’s awful, but it does happen. Don’t make a deposit or sign anything until you’ve had a chance to check them out.
What’s your next project?
Give us a call. Let’s talk about it. (719) 749-1788.