- Find out how long the business has been operation – ask to see their business license. Older firms are less risky, since most survive on the merit of their work. Two years in business might be a good starting place.
- Ask for 3-5 references from past jobs. Ask the references if the contractor was on time?; Did they meet deadlines and estimates?; Where the thorough and clean; Did they show up when they said they would?; Did they communicate well and return phone calls?
Bottom line, while you might get a better price from some, the headaches attached are not worth the savings in dollars.
- Get an written, detailed estimate of the work to be performed. Ask for possible changes that might need to be made in the process and how much it will cost. Never pay for work that has not been done according the original specification that you will sign off on.
- Make sure that the contractor is bonded (at least $1 million for liabilities) and has proper insurance.
- Go with your gut – do you feel that you can work with the contractor for the duration of your project? You will end up despising the entire process if you can’t stand communicating with and being around this person. Do they listen to you? Are there other projects more important than yours?