Here are some tips to help you in your search:
- Look for a company with an established reputation in your area. You can find these businesses by contacting your local chamber of commerce or checking with the Better Business Bureau. While many new startups are honest and aboveboard, in general it’s better to use a firm with a good track record.
- Only work with contractors who will furnish references from past clients. Avoid any builder who refuses to do so.
- Before you sign anything, ask plenty of questions first. Ask the contractor about their experience with your type of project. Ask if they are licensed and bonded. Ask for proof; don’t simply take a person’s word on these matters. Make sure they are members of your state or regional building contractors association.
- Refuse any company that uses high-pressure tactics. Be especially wary of anyone who solicits business door-to-door, via telemarketing, or through any other high-pressure tactics. Reputable companies gain customers through advertising and by personal referrals, not from strong-arming the public.
- Make sure you get a written estimate in hand before authorizing any work. Also, be sure the exact terms of the agreement are spelled out in the contract. If you have any doubts, then ask your attorney to review the papers before signing. If the builder refuses to allow this, then tell them thanks but no thanks.
- Ask the representative if the company will take care of acquiring the necessary permits and authorizations in an efficient manner. Most companies will gladly do this.
- If you’re unsure about the firm for any reason at all, then don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. Building projects are major investments, and mistakes can be costly indeed.