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Q: What guidelines should I follow
to find a contractor?

A: Always exercise caution and be
comfortable and confident about your final decision.  This means selecting
a competent and reliable contractor with a track record who can complete the
job without hassles or negative consequences.  What you can do:


  • Get word-of-mouth referrals. Ask friends, family,
         co-workers and neighbors for the names of established, local contractors
         in your area; avoid the telephone book.

  • Call trade groups.  When all else fails, contact
         local trade organizations, such as the local builder association or the
         Remodelors Council, an arm of the National Association of Home Builders,
         for the names of reputable members in your area.

  • Associate with licensed contractors.  Many states
         require contractors to be licensed and bonded.  Contact your state or
         local licensing board to ensure the contractor meets all requirements and
         has a decent record.  The Better Business Bureau and the local
         Consumer Affairs Office can also tell you if any complaints have been
         filed against the contractor and how they were resolved.

  • Conduct interviews.  Talk with each contractor,
         request free estimates, and ask for recent references.  When dealing
         with several different contractors, make sure they’re bidding on similar
         project specifications and quality of work.  Remember, the lowest bid
         isn’t always the best.

  • Check insurance information.  Most states require
         a contractor to have workers’ compensation, property damage, and personal
         liability insurance.  Ask for proof of this insurance and get the
         name of the insurance company to verify the information and to ensure that
         all minimum insurance requirements are met.  You could be held liable
         for any work-related injury if the contractor is not covered.


Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.