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Five Things to Consider Before
Hiring a Contractor

Whether you are looking to remodel your home, break ground on a new building, or carry out much-needed repairs, getting the right contractor for the job is the first step to ensure your project's success. However, before hiring a contractor, there are several things to consider to ensure you select competent and trustworthy professionals up to the task.

What Kind of Contractor Do I Need?

Depending on the type and scope of work you need to do, you will have to hire either a General Contractor or a Specialty Contractor. General Contractors typically handle new construction and major renovation or remodeling projects and oversee all aspects of the project, including the activities of laborers and material suppliers. However, if your project is limited to specific types of home repair, then you can hire a Specialty Contractor – a skilled tradesperson who specializes in a particular area of construction and home improvement or repair. Common examples of these specialty contractors include:

  • Air Conditioning and Cooling Contractor (HVAC)
  • Appliance Technician
  • Architect
  • Cabinet and Countertop Contractor
  • Carpenter
  • Carpet Cleaning Contractor
  • Deck and Patio Contractor
  • Driveway and Paving Contractor
  • Electrician
  • Exterminator/Pest Control Specialist
  • Fence Contractor
  • Flooring Contractor
  • Garage Door Contractor
  • Gardening Contractor
  • General Contractor
  • Gutter Services
  • Handyman
  • Heating and Cooling Contractor (HVAC)
  • Home Cleaning Contractor
  • Home Remodeling Contractor
  • Interior Decorator/Designer
  • Junk Removal Company
  • Kitchen Design and Remodeling Contractor
  • Landscaper
  • Lawn Care Contractor
  • Locksmith
  • Mason
  • Mover
  • Painter
  • Plumber
  • Roofing Contractor
  • Siding Contractor
  • Solar Panel Installation Contractor
  • Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Contractor
  • TV Repair Technician
  • Wall and Ceiling Contractor
  • Window and Door Contractor

Be aware that specialty contractors are sometimes referred to as subcontractors, especially in scenarios where a general contractor hires them to work on a project they are overseeing.

How to Hire a Contractor

Asking trusted friends and family for recommendations is an excellent way to ensure that you hire a top-notch contractor. You can also reach out to organizations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), and any other reputable building, construction, and home improvement-related association in your area.

Once you get these recommendations, you should consider asking some vital questions to each contractor before committing to them or confirming their reliability and suitability for the job:

  • How much experience do you have handling these types of projects?
  • Do you have the necessary licenses and permits?
  • Can you provide references?
  • What are your service rates?
  • Are you adequately insured and bonded?
  • What is the timeline for the project?
  • Do you offer warranties?

How Do I Find Top Contractors Near Me?

The right contractor for your construction or home improvement project should typically have the necessary skill set, experience, and licenses; they should also be trustworthy and competitively priced. In addition to getting recommendations from friends and family, you can find top contractors near you who fit these criteria by using sites offered by reputable organizations and third-party contractor search platforms like Uhire and BBB.

We recommend checking with your local consumer protection agency (the BBB also offers this service) to see if any old client has filed complaints against your preferred contractor. In scenarios where a complaint has been filed against the contractor, you can consider hearing their side of the story and how the situation was resolved before crossing them off your list of potential hires.

Why Is It Important to Hire Licensed Contractors?

While it may seem cheaper and more convenient to handle home repairs yourself or get an unlicensed contractor, hiring a licensed professional is always the better, safer, and smarter way to go. Hiring licensed contractors assures you that the work will be done competently and without risk of further liabilities for possible damage to your home, on-the-job injuries, or falling victim to home improvement and repair scams.

Here are some key reasons why you should always engage licensed contractors for your projects:

  • Licensed contractors are generally better trained, experienced, and professionally behaved than unlicensed contractors.
  • Licensed contractors typically provide legally binding contracts for projects they are hired on.
  • Licensed contractors are usually adequately insured and bonded, protecting you from liability and out-of-pocket expenses in situations involving work-related injuries or property damage.
  • Licensed contractors are more likely to take all necessary safety precautions while ensuring the job is completed satisfactorily and on schedule.
  • Licensed contractors follow all applicable federal, state, and local construction codes and requirements, including pulling necessary permits and scheduling required inspections with appropriate building authorities.
  • Licensed contractors typically take responsibility for errors or failure to meet the terms of your contract. Your chances of getting adequate compensation in these situations are also higher if you hire a licensed contractor.

How to Verify a Contractor

Always confirm your preferred contractor’s license status before committing to them; this helps you verify their suitability for the job. Contact your local consumer protection agency or building department if you are unsure of the kinds of licenses the contractor needs to hold to work on your project – you can also verify the contractor’s license with these agencies.

Third-party platforms like Uhire are another helpful resource for verifying contractor licenses. This platform provides a simplified search portal that allows you to conduct name or license-number-based searches for contractors in your area and provides results that include vital information like the contractor's license type, license expiration date, full name, business name, and business address.

Other steps that you can take to verify a contractor’s reputation and suitability for the job include:

  • Comparing their rates with those of other local contractors
  • Ask for references and check them
  • Check reviews and testimonials on the contractor online
  • Ask for portfolios and samples of their past work
  • Get clarification on any issues that seem unclear

You are welcome to use the Uhire Platform to find and verify the contractor for your next project.

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