Licensed contractors for every job
If you lack the time or the know-how to complete a particular construction or home renovation job, contractors are there to help you out. Licensed contractors are technical professionals with the skills, experience and equipment to provide building services of all types. Regardless of whether you want to repair your roof or remodel your kitchen, install a new bathroom or finish your basement, a reputable and reliable contractor is your ticket to excellent results.
It's helpful if you understand a few terms you'll likely see as you search for a contractor. First, you should know that there is no significant difference between what "general contractors" do and what "independent contractors" do. The term "independent contractor" simply implies that the individual or company is self-sufficient and is retained by employers (like you) on a contract basis. A "general contractor" is a construction professional with the ability and experience to complete any necessary home construction or renovation task. By contrast, "commercial contractors" are hired for work on industrial buildings.
Tips for Screening Contractors
Word of mouth is an excellent way to screen contractors, but it's not always possible to evaluate the various candidates using this method alone. The first thing to remember is that an "honest face" or a "professional manner" is no guarantee of quality work; you need more reliable information to make your decision.
Ask the contractor for his or her business license number, and inquire how long they have been licensed. Then, check what the contractor told you against what's on file. Information on all licensed contractors is a matter of public record.
Also, get references from satisfied past customers. You should do this regardless of whether you're looking to hire general building contractors or specialized professionals like plumbing contractors. If the contractor has nothing to hide, they will take no offense to your query.
Red Flags to Avoid when Hiring Contractors
You should be suspicious of any contractor who gives you a price quote before coming over to inspect your property and assess the work to be done. It is also not a common business practice for contractors to appear unsolicited at your door offering to do work, nor should you accept a "discount" in exchange for allowing the contractor to advertise using your home as an example.
Finally, the biggest red flag of all is if a contractor demands a large up-front deposit for "building materials" or "cost control." This is a sign that the contractor is more interested in taking your money than earning it, and you should avoid such individuals at all times.