Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in Remodeling | 0 comments

spectrumhomes3d_v2Many people have experienced or heard of the horror stories associated with the home improvement industry. We see reports on the news and know personally those who have experienced nightmare home remodels – which are often characterized by poor communication, shoddy workmanship, filthy work conditions, missed project completion dates and a long list of broken promises.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There are many honest, hard-working and reliable contractors out there who will handle your job professionally – finding qualified and courteous subcontractors, creating timelines and working diligently to keep you on or under budget.

But first, let’s look at some of the mistakes homeowners make when choosing a contractor.

Mistake #1: Not requesting proof

The hard truth is that the remodeling industry is an easy one to enter. A person can have very little experience before calling themselves a contractor, which is why you need to request proof of insurance, bond and license information.

The State of Oregon requires all those involved in the construction or home improvement industry to be licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB); ours license number is #99777. In our business, we also require our subcontractors to be licensed, bonded and insured.

Because there is nothing to prevent a contractor from giving you a copy of insurance that has been canceled for non-payment, it is important that you check the contractor online first, before moving forward with any project.

You can easily do a search with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) to verify that a contractor’s license, insurance and bond are current. This will also show a history of any complaints. Additionally, a search on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website will yield background information on the contractor’s company.

Mistake #2: Using the “three bid” selection process

Most homeowners make their decision based on comparing bids. It’s not that this is wrong, it’s just extremely hard (if not impossible) to do. The problem with this is that there is no industry standard for estimating a project and all contractors offer different levels of service and experience.

Instead, we recommend that you get ballpark price ranges or average project costs from the contractor so that you know they match your desired investment criteria. As long as the contractor is somewhere in your price range, spend time interviewing him so that you can gauge whether or not you feel comfortable with him and his approach to your project.

If you feel the contractor can meet your expectations and that the two of you are able to clearly communicate, proceed to have him prepare a firm price quotation based on the specifics of your project.

Mistake #3: Not having a systematic checklist / comparison

If the homeowner doesn’t ask the right questions when interviewing a contractor, the potential for having a bad experience increases. Something as simple as a checkl
ist will ensure that you are asking the right questions of each contractor you interview. Don’t be afraid to take the time to make sure that all of your questions are clearly answered, so when it comes time to choose your contractor, you have all the information you need.

We’ve recently revised our contractor checklist, and we invite you to download it.

Download our Contractor Checklist.

Finally, above all else, trust your instinct. It is important that you find the contractor that’s right for you.

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