Choosing the Best Remodeling Contractor
It takes a little legwork to find the best remodeling contractor for your renovation job.
Here’s how to handle the task.
Insurance related damages to thousands of properties across the United States occur every year. Insurance claims range from damages caused by severe storms including hail, windstorms, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods and to non-storm related damages that include fire, vandalism, mold and water. Severe weather and other insurance claims occur on a daily basis all across the United States there are a few things you’ll want to watch out for when selecting a contractor to repair the damages to your property to bring you back to pre-loss conditions. Below are steps on choosing the best remodeling contractor.
Filing an Insurance Claim
It is important for property owners to understand your insurance company is not your advocate when it comes time to file a claim with your insurance carrier. The insurance companies, agents and adjusters are in business to make money, and may discourage you from filing a damage claim which affects their bottom line. Your insurance company may also provide you with a list of insurance company approved contractors which have agreed to not fight for what is truly needed to restore your property but go off the minimum guidelines set by the insurance company and not repair your property to county building codes and manufacturer specifications. With the insurance approved contractors program gives the ability for insurance companies to reduce the amount of money your insurance company has to pay out on your claim, but can also mean that property owners are not having their homes restored back to a pre-loss condition and are having their properties value lose value because of improper construction techniques all for the name of having guaranteed business and saving the insurance companies money on claims that they are paying improperly.
Select a Vetted, Certified, Reputable Contractor
When it comes time to select a contractor to perform repairs to your property, be wary of contractors who do not have the right credentials or certifications of excellence.
Is the Contractor Property Licensed?
- Make sure any contractor you do business with is properly licensed, insured and is trained to install materials to the manufacturer’s guidelines and that follows all the state building codes and regulations enforced by your state’s building departments.
Does the Contractor Have Local References?
- Reputation and word-of-mouth is the best way to find a qualified professional to assist you in your restoration project.
- Ask for references that include name, address where work was performed. A reputable contractor will have a list of references that to provide.
- Make sure these references are in your local area and not out of state. It is good to know other states they have worked in, but you want to be able to check out their services in your local area.
- Drive by the job site and speak with homeowners.
- Ask them about their experiences with the contractor you are thinking about selecting to restore your property. This will give you a better understanding of the service you will receive from the contractor so you can make an educated decision that best suits your needs as a property owner and make sure they are a certified contractor.
- Remember that when you’re hiring a contractor, you are buying a service and not a product. Quality of service will determine the quality of the finished project.
How Long Has the Company Been in Business?
- Although the time a company has been in business cannot guarantee quality craftsmanship, the amount of time in business often serves as a factor in the overall level of experience and financial stability of a business.
Does the Contractor Have a Company Website?
- A website will tell you a lot about a company. Does it look professional?
- Are there certifications, accreditations, and organizations they belong to prominently displayed on the site?
- Do they have their office address listed on the site?
- Do they have references on their site with pictures of work performed?
- These are important things to look at when you’re selecting a company. If they don’t put the effort in to their website, how are they going to give you the same comfort that they will take the time and care to restore your property in the manner that best supports your needs?
Is the Contractor a Member of the Better Business Bureau with a Certified Rating?
- The BBB has been used by property owners to assess the contractors standing in the eyes of the public. Reviewing a company’s BBB rating is a simple way to check the overall performance of a company and the way it holds the value of their clients.
Is the Company Property Licensed, Bonded and Insured?
- Contractor and Roofing licensing requirements differ from state to state and in some states, licensing is not required. If licensing is required in your state, the company will be will be listed on your state’s contractor licensing website.
- Do not do work with a company that is not properly insured. If they can’t provide you with a copy of their insurance certificates that have their agents number and information, then they are not taking the proper steps in protecting their own companies future and are not the right company to choose to do your repairs. You will not be protected if something goes wrong while the work is being performed.
Check Out Their Credentials:
- With recommendations in hand, do some preliminary research, whether it’s with a phone call or a visit to the contractor’s website.
- Find out whether he or she holds designations or certifications from any professional associations such as the National Insurance Restoration Council (NIRC), National Storm Damage Center (NSDC), National Roofing Contractors Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Home Builders.
- Look for educated contractors who have invested in course work and passed rigorous tests to earn particular certifications. Be aware, however, that not all certifications are created equal. Do some homework and find out the requirements.
- See if the company has any local media coverage, awards, or press. This speaks volumes to their reputation and expertise.