When you look around your home, you likely see lots of things that need to be fixed or that you would like to improve. Then, you probably come to the realization that to get those jobs done, you must hire a contractor. Don’t let that speed bump slow down your resolve to make your house into your dream home. We’ve put together the following guidelines to help you find the right contractor for your home improvement project.

1. Find a Contractor

Contractors often specialize in the type of work they do, and it’s to your advantage to hire such a specialist if you have one or two specific jobs, such as replacing a roof or installing new windows. These contractors should be knowledgeable about the best practices in their specialty, and they will most likely be able to offer you the best prices on materials.

Make a list of potential contractors, gathering names from friends and family, recommendations from salespeople you trust at local building stores, and even ideas from online review sites. Select the top two or three contenders to contact for a site visit and a quote.

When the contractors come to your home to estimate your job, ask what they think of your project. Their answers will give you a good idea of their knowledge of the task at hand and will demonstrate how well they communicate with you. Good communication is especially important because it’s difficult to get exactly what you want if your contractor doesn’t understand you.

2. Check Credentials, Background, and Experience

Don’t just look at the bottom-line price on the estimate to choose your contractor. There’s likely a lot of money, as well as the comfort of your home, at stake here, so you want to be sure that your contractor is licensed, fully insured and bonded, and that the company also covers the work of any subcontractors it uses. Be sure all this information is detailed in the contract, when you get to that stage.

Ask the contractors about their background and experience. Do they work locally? How long have they been doing this type of home improvement? Get referrals or request photos of finished projects, especially projects similar to yours, and be sure to follow up by contacting previous or current clients.

3. Ask About Permits, Guarantees, and Payment Schedules

Generally speaking, nonstructural work such as replacing a roof or gutters does not require a permit. Your contractor should know the local building codes, and if permits and inspections are required, they should be able to arrange these for you. Find out if the contractor offers a guarantee on materials and workmanship.

When comparing bids, be sure that each contractor has quoted on the same services and equivalent materials, including brand names and model numbers. Also, discuss the payment schedule. If the job is large and will be completed in several steps, it’s a good idea to specify that payment will be made only after the completion of each step.

4. Get It in Writing

Your chosen contractor should provide you with a written contract that covers all the specifics of the job, including a detailed description, costs, start and expected completion dates, guarantees, and the payment schedule. Also, be sure to get copies of any manufacturers’ warranties on products your contractor plans to install.

When you tackle your home improvement by following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to finding the best contractor for the job. The professionals at Kingsford Siding in Durham, North Carolina know how important your home is to you, and we work with you every step of the way to make sure our work meets your expectations.