Contractor Checking a Blueprint

How to Check the Reputation of a Contractor

July 24, 2020

When your home remodeling project requires more skill than you possess, turning to a qualified contractor to complete the job might be a good idea. A contractor can take care of ordering materials, offers a satisfaction guarantee, and helps remove the stress associated with a home renovation project. Leave the work to the professionals and enjoy the results.

Finding a reputable contractor requires more up-front work on your part. If you hire the wrong person, you could pay them for the entire project but be left with unfinished work or upset subcontractors and suppliers demanding payment.

For starters, confirm that they have a valid license with the applicable state agency and current liability, property, and worker’s compensation insurance. Then, before you sign a home contractor agreement, check the contractor’s reputation. Here’s how.

Ask for referrals from THIS group.

 Referrals from neighbors, friends, and co-workers might be one of the best ways to find a quality contractor. The fact that the contractor has generated “good word of mouth” shouldn’t be ignored.

Let them tell you about their experience with the contractor, then ask these questions which might help uncover potential problems:

  • Was the estimate accurate compared with the final cost of the project?
  • Have the materials lasted as long as the contractor said they would?
  • Did the contractor keep you informed of project changes along the way, like timelines and costs?

If they have personally used the contractor’s services, don’t forget to ask if you can examine the completed work and use their name as a referral.

Ask for references, but treat them with caution.

Requesting references directly from the contractor is a common practice. However, you shouldn’t expect to uncover any bombshells since the contractor will provide you with a list of satisfied customers – not unsatisfied customers.

You might still obtain valuable information by asking these questions from references:

  • Was the work completed on time?
  • Would you describe the interactions with the contractor as professional?
  • Have you recommended the contractor to other people without being asked?
  • Would you use the contractor again?
  • Did the contractor provide a final walk-thru before requesting final payment?

Request before and after pictures, if not already provided by the contractor.

 Review online review websites.

 Search for the contractor’s full name and company name online. Be aware that some unscrupulous competitors might attempt to damage a good contractor’s reputation. So, it’s wise to check more than one review website before making a decision. Stick with online review sites such as Angie’s List or Home Advisor. Both websites encourage customers to comment on their experiences. Companies can also respond to each review, good or bad. Notice how they handle harsh reviews. Does the contractor blame the customer or try to resolve the issue?

Check for customer complaints.

 It’s unrealistic to expect an established company to have a perfect customer satisfaction history. The older the company, the higher the chances of seeing complaints with the Better Business Bureau or the local builders association. However, a slew of recent allegations should give you pause. Similar to online review sites, it’s more important to pay attention to the nature of the complaints and how the company responded to them.

Securing the right funding for your home improvement project is just as important as securing the right contractor for the job. Let ENB’s HomeLine handle the financing at each stage of the project. Unlike a traditional home equity loan, which is disbursed in one lump sum, the HomeLine allows borrowers to access cash as needed. They can also lock in a fixed rate on what they have borrowed.

Apply online now or call us at (877) 773-6605 to learn more.