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Having home improvements done on your home should be an exciting time. It should result in a good overall experience.

There is nothing quite like watching your dream kitchen, bathroom or extension taking shape. Nothing can turn what should be a good experience into a bad experience quite as quickly as choosing the wrong local contractor for your project.

So, what is the difference between a good contractor and a bad contractor and how can you increase the odds of choosing a good one for your home improvement project?

There are three distinct phases that you go through when selecting a contractor for your project and each one should be viewed as an opportunity to increase the odds of selecting the correct contractor for your project.

Preliminary screening of local contractors:Long Island Local Contractor

This should be the very first step in selecting a contractor. It involves finding contractor names and doing a bit of background investigation. You should complete this step before calling any contractors to bid on your project.

  1. Verify that the contractor is licensed and insured. On long island, insurance is a pre-requisite to licensing.

  2. Check for unresolved complaints with the Better Business Bureau or Consumer affairs.

  3. Check the contractors’ reputation and reviews. Are the prompt? Are they clean? What’s their reputation?

  4. Does the contractor possess any certifications or belong to any trade groups?

Obtaining a proposal from a local contractor:

After you have screened the contractors you will need to meet with them, go over the project and obtain a bid. Think of this step as equal parts showing the local contractor what you want done and interviewing them to determine who you want to work with.  This step starts when you meet with the contractor and ends with a written proposal in your hands.

  1. First and foremost, keep in mind that this is your opportunity to interview the contractor.

  2. Every project has its unique challenges. Pay attention to contractor feedback and solutions offered.

  3. Did the contractor show up when promised or call if they were running late? If not, send them on their way.

  4. Good communication is key. Does the contractor listen to your concerns and explain themselves clearly?

  5. Run away from heavy handed sales pressure. Coercion is a terrible way to begin a relationship.

Evaluating proposals and selecting a contractor

Once you have estimates in hand it is time to evaluate each proposal and select the contractor that you would like to team up with.

  1. Do you feel that you can have a good relationship with this contractor?Local Contractor List

  2. How detailed is the estimate? Vague proposals foretell vague contracts and problems down the road.

  3. Does the contractor offer an extended warranty?

  4. You may want to speak with previous clients but remember, no contractor is going to refer an unhappy client.

  5. Price may matter but most horror stories begin with an unbelievable price.

Once you have completed these steps you should feel pretty good about your choice of local contractors. You have done your homework and have greatly increased the odds of having a pleasant experience with your home improvement project.

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