Most licensed contractors are talented, honest, hardworking and financially responsible. However, home improvement is a top source of consumer complaints nationwide. Remember, you’re the boss and your goal is to find the best match for your remodeling project. The best way to find a contractor is a referral from a satisfied client. Even with a referral, we recommend you still conduct a formal interview process. It’s important to take the time to make a list of questions to ask all contractors that you’re considering hiring for your home remodeling project.
Are you licensed and insured?
Always make sure the company you are considering is properly licensed. You can check if the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) licenses a home improvement contractor by clicking here. Any contractor performing home improvement work costing more than $200 must have a DCA license to operate legally in New York City.
Make sure the company you are considering carries general liability insurance. This is the insurance that protects your home from damage or negligence of the contractor, his employees or any sub-contractors he hires. You should ask for a copy of their insurance certificate. Be sure to check the expiration date. It’s a good idea to call the issuing company to verify their insurance is in force.
Make sure they carry workers compensation insurance. It protects you from liability if a worker is injured while on your property. Be aware that if the contractor doesn’t carry workers’ compensation coverage, you will be liable for any injuries suffered by the contractor or any of his employees on your property.
Do you guarantee your work?
This is one of the most forgotten questions for customers. You wouldn’t buy a car without a warranty would you? Never accept a verbal warranty of “If something breaks, don’t worry, I’ll fix it.” Always insist on a warranty in writing. The warranty should clearly spell out what is covered and what is not and how long the warranty is good for. A one-year warranty is the minimum you should expect.
Do you have references?
A good contractor will be happy to provide you with written references. One of the best ways to gauge a company’s abilities is by talking to their past customers. Ask them how well the company met their promises, did they deliver on time, and most importantly would you hire them again or recommend them to others? Ask them what they like the most about working with them and what they could have improved upon. Also ask for pictures of their work; before and after shots offer the best perspective.
Ask questions about how they work
We can’t stress how important this information can be to you, ask questions such as how do they perform their work, what time do they start, how will you protect my carpets, how will the trash and debris be handled, do you work straight through a project? How often do you communicate with your customers as the job progresses? The answers to these questions will give you a clear picture of what type of contractor you are dealing with.
How many projects like mine have you completed in the past year?
Your contractor should have experience in the type of remodeling project you want done — not just “contracting experience.” The more experience a contractor has and the more they specialize in the work you need done, the better off you will be. Many contractors dabble in anything that comes their way and never develop expert expertise in what they are doing.
Tiles Unlimited, voted Best Tile Store in the 2017 Best of the Boro competition, has hundreds of licensed and insured contractors as clients. While we do not perform contracting services, we can offer you the names of several contractors that you can put through your interview process through our recently launched Meet the Contractor program. Only contractors who are licensed and insured and have excellent client references can be part of the program. Check back often as we add new contractors monthly.