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Comparing Contractors - Import Factors Most Homeowners Overlook

With all the different types of weather we are exposed to throughout the year, it is safe to say that a beautiful spring day is quite possibly the best among them. With the warm sun melting the last of the snow, you are finally able to step outside without feeling a bone-chilling shiver run down your spine.

But while spring is accompanied by the warm sun on your skin and a cool breeze rustling through the trees, it also brings many problems for homeowners.  As you stroll around the exterior of your home for the first time of the season, you may realize that your roof or siding has taken an irreparable beating throughout the winter, or that this year’s April showers will finally require the installation of that new gutter system you have been putting off for years.  When you are faced with these problems, there are three factors that most homeowners overlook when they are selecting a contractor.

Business License Number

Throughout the selection process, you will likely receive estimates from multiple contractors to ensure you receive the best return for your investment.  When the time finally comes to make your decision, one thing you should keep in mind is how long each company has been in business.  Not only does that give you an idea of their experience level, but it can also be a window into how reliable of an organization it is. While most purchases you make throughout your life don’t rely on the store still being in business years later, repairs to your most valuable asset, your home, is not one of them.

Just imagine five years down the road.  The roof you paid thousands of dollars for has sprung a leak due to improper installation, causing damage to the interior of your home and a massive headache for you.  Now while this is not the scenario most homeowners envision when they are signing a contract with a company, it is a very real possibility.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know whether or not the company you hire will be around to fix their mistake?

Of course it would.  If Joe Schmo’s Roofing boasts that they have been in business for over twenty-five years, you may find yourself choosing them because you believe you’re dealing with a reliable company.  But don’t just take their word for it.  One thing that most buyers fail to do is check the company’s business license number.  The longer someone has been in business, the lower their license number will be.  Therefore, if Joe’s license number is higher than the other two contractors who are both less than ten years old, you should be aware that something is amiss with Joe’s story.   There could be a history of bankruptcy, legal issues, or another scenario that you are unaware of.  The only thing you can be certain of at this point is that you are being lied to.

Now while a high business number isn’t a guaranteed sign that you are interacting with an untrustworthy company, you should be open to the idea that you might not be dealing with the most reliable business in town.

Secret Subcontractors

Though important, longevity is not the only aspect of a company that you should be concerned with.  Your greatest concern when deciding between contractors should be the quality of their work, because when you think about it, the previous example wouldn’t even have existed if the roofers had taken their time to install the roof properly to begin with.

In order to side-step poor craftsmanship on your home, you need to know whether or not the contractor you decide to hire is going to use in-house employees or subcontract the work out to another company.  You may be surprised to hear that this might not be information that contractors are willing to share with you upfront.

By using a crew of subcontractors, the company you hired is relinquishing their right to dictate the quality of work being performed on your home. This means that neither you nor the contractor can be certain whether or not you received the level of craftsmanship you paid for.  However, keep in mind that there are certain instances, such as plumbing and electrical work, where the company is required to bring in a licensed professional to complete certain portions of the job.  You should remain wary of any unnecessary work being performed by anyone other than a direct employee.

Manufacturer Certification

Another tip that walks hand-in-hand with ensuring you receive the quality craftsmanship you deserve is that you should take the time to find a company that is endorsed by the manufacturer of the materials being installed on your home.  A lot of people are unaware that most nationwide manufacturers certify a select number of contractors in each region who have proven their ability to install the materials using the proper care and talent necessary to ensure you receive the maximum benefit of their product.

There is an added benefit that certified contractors tend to have access to special, extended warranties that include far superior coverage than the warranty offered by lower-level contractors. Also, without this certification, there is a greater chance that the contractor installing the materials may do something to void the product’s warranty entirely, leaving you unable to seek restitution if there are any issues in the future.

Being faced with the task of finding the best company to serve all of your home repair needs can prove to be a daunting task.  By utilizing these three useful tips it can make the process quite a bit less stressful, giving you more time to appreciate the beautiful spring weather you have been waiting to enjoy for months.