Top Tips For Choosing a Great Contractor...
The Educated Consumer
** Ask us about our "Bad Apples" list! If a Contractor you're thinking about using is on it, RUN!
You bet the Home/Business Repair and Improvement Industry has a pretty "Shifty" reputation and for good reason!
This business is absolutely filled with "Jack-Legs" who want nothing more than to get your money and have no concern whether you get a quality job or not!
**(Please see our warning to Craigslist users at the bottom of this page)
However, this business is also filled with great quality, hard working people who want nothing more than your satisfaction for two reasons.
One is that if you're not happy with the quality of their work, you sure won't become a repeat customer, let alone refer your friends and family to them. And two, their NAME is on every one of their jobs!
Yes, some do take great pride in their work and many see their work as a reflection of who they are or even as a work of art!
That being said, how can you find the guy's that do take pride in themselves and their work and not get raked over the coals in the process? Here's several great suggestions...
The biggest mistakes we've seen over the years that Home and Business owners make when choosing a Contractor are...
Hiring "Mr. Dirt Cheap!" Sure, most people now-a-days are very price conscious and in today's economy, who can blame them? But "Mr. Dirt Cheap" is rarely a money saving option.
For one, chances are he's not Licensed or Insured. What happens if he get's hurt on your property or does some major damage to your home or business?
Do you really think he's going to cover those damages? Do you really think he's going to pay his own medical bills? Really? What an absolute nightmare that could turn out to be!
You also need to ask yourself "Just WHY is Mr. Dirt Cheap so - Cheap? What corners is he cutting? What experience does he have actually bidding the job at hand? Is he actually qualified to do the job in the first place? Has he done this EXACT job MANY times in the past?
Is he going to hit me up for more money towards the end of the job so he can "finish" it? Is he going to just make a mess of things so that you're going to have to hire someone else to fix? (We see this all the time!)
You get the point and as you see, these are important questions and unless you feel 100% confident with the answers, please, don't hire Mr. Dirt Cheap! It could end up costing you much more in the long run!
Even if a Contractor IS Licensed and Insured yet his bid comes in well below the other bids you may be receiving, this can also be a red flag! He could be having financial problems and willing to cut his prices just to get some money coming in.
Wouldn't you hate for your contractor to go "belly up" right in the middle of YOUR remodeling project? What a nightmare that would be! (Yes, we've had many of these calls over the years too!)
Remember, ASK a potential contractor how many times has he done your EXACT project? ASK/INSIST seeing that License & Insurance AND by all means, ASK FOR REFERENCES!
Hiring "Mr. Big Advertiser!" We all see the TV Commercials and hear those nice Radio ads don't we? Folks, we're here to tell you, TV and Radio advertising isn't cheap! WHO do you think pays for all this expensive advertising?
Well you do of course! So, not only are you going to pay through the nose with Mr. Big Advertiser, here's something you may not have thought of...
Mr. Big Advertiser has a constant stream of new "Leads" and customers to deal with. These people didn't come from referrals from happy customers, they "bought" what they heard in those expensive ads and more of them come in every day.
Do you really think top quality is going to come from someone who has a hundred more customers lined up right after you?
Do you really think Mr. Big Advertiser has the reputation of "Do it right" or one of "Get it done FAST and get out?" You know the answer to that one!
Some of the worst horror stories we've heard over the years is the MESS some giant company made in someone's home or business...
And if they didn't make it right, you have to go up against that giant corporation with bottomless pockets! Again, you get the point.
We also want to mention ~ Be VERY careful with anyone who gives you an estimate "site unseen" over the phone. Many contractors that do this are just trying to get a foot in your door by throwing a low-ball price at you.
When the job is started or completed, that's rarely the price you'll get charged!
Again, this is your home or business. Deal with people willing to take their time to come see your project, big or small and provide you with an accurate estimate based on their experience. Do not deal with those that casually throw out numbers over the phone!
That being said, yes, a lot of quality (and busy) Contractors DO "price qualify" many callers over the phone. Many home and business owners simply have no idea what a particular project will cost, so the Contractor may ask "what's your budget?"
Well, if a caller is looking to have their 1500 sq./ft. Basement finished and they have a budget of $5000.00 ~ There's no reason for the Contractor to take his time to go see them because that simply can't be done.
The good Contractors who are also "good guys" will let that caller down gently and hopefully, the caller will appreciate the Contractor's honesty!
So, what is a savvy Home or Business owner (Or Apartment/Condo Community or Church or School or Nursing Home/Retirement Community or Management Company etc... etc...) to do?
Look for the good guys in the middle of Mr. Dirt Cheap & Mr. Big Advertiser!
A company who isn't just Licensed and Insured but who is proud of their references and who earns a living every day from repeat business and the referrals from past, happy customers! This applies equally to $500.00 projects or $500,000 projects!
We love to say, "you see our work every day" in and on countless homes, businesses and facilities that those in our organization have either Repaired, Improved, Remodeled, Renovated, Restored or Built... And chances are, you've never even heard of us! (See the "Completed Projects" page)
Look around our site a bit. No matter what your looking to have done around your home or business, from $500.00 projects to $500,000 projects, from basic repairs to ANY interior or exterior improvement or remodeling...
To complete renovations to Insurance restoration to tenant build-outs to the new construction of homes and businesses and absolutely everything in between.
Then give us a quick call at the number below to arrange a fast, free estimate from a qualified, licensed and insured professional.
As always, ask us how we can do what no one else in Metro Atlanta can do for a price that won't bust your budget!
We are at your service!
There's a couple more great tips below...
**WARNING to Craigslist users ~ Although there are some reputable companies/contractors that advertise on Craigslist, it is notorious for "bad Apples!"
"We will beat ANY price" and "Dirt Cheap" are code words that should raise red flags to anyone looking for a reputable contractor, let alone a quality job.
We've seen countless postings from people who have been ripped off who are at least trying to warn others but often their postings go unseen or ignored.
Our best advice would be to AVOID Craigslist and seek qualified contractors elsewhere! We've heard countless horror stories over the years about unscrupulous contractors & tradesmen that were found on Craigslist.
Just watch the news or listen to Clark Howard! Don't become yet another horror story! Check their License & Insurance. Ask for references and if the price seems too good to be true, you bet, it is! Please be careful!
Lastly, avoid the "Over Eager Beaver!" Guys we're here to tell you. At the time of this writing, the economy is booming! Any Contractor worth their salt is BUSY! If you find someone who says "I'll be right over" or "I can start tomorrow," that's a big, red flag!
Chances are, that guy is sitting around on the couch with nothing to do. There's probably a reason for that. (Whatever it may be!) Look for the guys that ARE busy and in demand. There's a reason for that too!
Be a little patient! Some folks wait MONTHS for the right guy but most good Contractors are usually 2 to 4 weeks or so booked up. Get on their schedules but also be a little understanding if ongoing rain/bad weather slows them down a bit.
As far as patience... Putting together an accurate estimate, especially for a large remodeling project is a LOT of work! Add to that... During the busy season, contractors have MANY estimates to work on and often work late into the night to get them back to their clients as quickly as possible.
Give the guy (or us!!) adequate time to get that bid back to you and you bet, especially during the busy season, "adequate" could mean 7 to 10 days for bigger projects.
We hope this information was helpful to you in helping you choose your next contractor. And of course, we hope you choose us!
No matter what project you may be considering for your home or business, big or small. Basic to custom design. Give us a call and let's have an intelligent conversation. Need an Architect or a 203K Loan Specialist or Consultant? We can help you there too!
At your service;