Is being isolated at home giving you the itch to remodel, redesign, or renovate your home? Are low-interest rates giving you the urge to buy or even build a new home or office? You’re not alone. Consumer spending was up in 2020, and are expected to increase their spending on home improvement projects in 2021. In fact, spending on home improvement projects is anticipated to be $337 billion by the second half of 2021. Whether you’re considering tackling a small project or embarking on a significant undertaking, finding a qualified home improvement specialist with a good reputation is crucial. BBB provides the following advice if you are in the market for a home improvement specialist.
“Hiring the right contractor can make all the difference with any home improvement project,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “ Poor quality, overcharging, poor communication, and a poor experience overall can be minimized and perhaps eliminated by doing research and by getting several estimates beforehand.”
BBB advises the following before starting any improvement project for your home or business:
Research and gather information. Search for a contractor’s Business Profile at BBB.org for free information on their history of complaints, read verified Customer Reviews, and see if they are an Accredited Business. BBB Accredited Businesses make a commitment to uphold BBB’s accreditation standards including building trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor their promises, be responsive to their customers, safeguard privacy and embody integrity.
Ask for multiple quotes. Solicit at least three bids from prospective contractors based upon the same specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project. Find contractors you can trust on BBB.org. Use BBB’s free Request a Quote program to receive bids from BBB Accredited Businesses.
Get it in writing. Be sure to have a detailed description of the work to be done, materials to be used, and an estimated start and end date. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract. Ask how much work will be subcontracted and ask for information on the subcontractors. Ask questions if you do not understand any part of the contract. Never sign an incomplete or partially blank contract. Always retain a copy of your contract.
Verify license and insurance. Confirm that any contractor you are considering doing business with is properly licensed, bonded and insured.
Inquire about a lien waiver. A lien waiver is a statement from your contractor that says all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.
Never pay in full upfront. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, not an individual, or that you use a credit card. Paying with a credit card will provide some recourse should the job not be completed as stated in the contract.
Get a receipt. Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment made.
When hiring specialized contractors, there are additional factors to consider. Learn more:
To find a reliable contractor you can trust, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call (903)581-5784 or use BBB Scam Tracker.
ABOUT BBB®: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.