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PostPoints Home & Garden Tip of the Week
  Tip Picking the Right Contractor


  By Terri Sapienza, Thursday, August 26, 2010  
When it comes to home improvement, one of the most important decisions is picking the right contractor. Finding someone reliable and trustworthy can be time-consuming, but the effort will be worth it in the end. To begin your search, ask friends and neighbors - who have had work done on their homes - if they have any recommendations. When you have a few names, follow the tips below to make your choice a little easier:
  • Get three or four estimates from different contractors. Put everything you want in writing so you can show it to each person and compare bids fairly. There shouldn't be any more than a 5 to 10 percent difference between bids.
  • Check references. Contact previous clients and ask lots of questions. Are they pleased with the work? How closely did they stay on time and budget? Was it easy to communicate with them? You can also contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have ever been filed against them.
  • Make sure the contractor agrees to get all the necessary permits and that they are properly licensed and insured. If you apply for permits yourself, you are designating yourself as the general contractor and are liable for the project. Request to see a copy of their insurance certificates and find out how much they are insured for and how much liability insurance they have.
  • Don't overlook small details in the contract. Be sure to include the start and end dates of the job, the payment schedule, how a dispute will be resolved and labor warranty information.
  • At the end of the day, be sure that you actually like your contractor. If you don't, you may have difficulty communicating, which can hinder and hurt the entire project.  

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