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How do you know you're getting a good contractor?

A lot of people consider themselves to be "handy" when it comes to home improvement projects because they saw something done on "This Old House" or because they participated in a home-improvement class at the local hardware store. But while these experiences might prepare you for simple projects such as painting a room, it may not be enough to tackle those major projects. This is where a contractor may come into play.

But the first question most people ask before making this decision is the one we pose in this week's blog post: how do you know you're getting a good contractor? To answer this question, let's take a look at five things to consider about your contractor.

The first thing to consider if how your contractor spends their time. Do they work diligently on the project to get it done in a timely manner or do they seem to slough off the work? Sometimes, your contractor's punctuality and work ethic can indicate whether you have a good contractor or not.

The next thing to consider is your contractor's choice of subcontractor and how they manage the work the subcontractor is fulfilling. A good contractor should vet out a subcontractor to make sure that they know what they are doing and will complete the task at hand. Any contractor who shrugs off a subcontractor's bad work might not be the best choice for hire.

Also consider the payments you make. How is your contractor keeping track of money spent on materials? Are you able to see the receipts from these transactions or are you forced to take their word for it? Does the percentage of up-front money seem unreasonably high to you? The answers to these questions could indicate a questionable contractor and mean obtaining a knowledgeable lawyer.

Are you worried about construction defects or a contractor buying subpar materials without your knowledge? If you answered yes then you're not alone. This comes up more often than you think and should be a top concern when considering contractors. That's because construction defects can lead to contractor disputes and even litigation.

Finally, consider how your contractor conducts themselves on the job site. Do they appear to be following OSHA guidelines or do their actions seem hazardous or unsafe? Are your contractor's workers exhibiting the same unsafe behavior? If so, this should be a red flag and reason for concern.

Source: How Stuff Works, "10 Red Flags That Should Make You Fire Your Contractor Immediately," Garth Sundem, Accessed Jan. 2, 2015

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