What it means to choose the “right” contractor goes beyond looking at a couple of before and after photos or reading their reviews online. You want concrete verification that the contractors you’re considering hiring have the skills needed to get the job done right. Remodeling your home is exciting, and you may feel inclined to hire one of the contractors you come across. Understandably, you’re eager to get the job done! Choosing the right contractor is key in making sure the project gets done in a way that meets your expectations.
Proper Certifications & Licenses
When it comes to working on something as important as your home, you can’t afford to simply take someone’s word for it when they tell you they know what they’re doing. The first thing you should look for in a contracting company is their certifications and licenses. These things not only speak to the company’s capabilities, but they’re also put in place to protect you and your home. The state of North Carolina doesn’t require roofing contractors to hold a license (in fact they don’t even offer a license) meaning that someone who is a landscaper today can be an “expert roofer” tomorrow. Your safest bet is to hire a Licensed General Contractor (GC). A company that attains a GC license has undergone extensive construction training, their financial books have been audited to ensure proper cash flow, they must carry workman’s compensation and general liability insurances, and most importantly is that they, and their workmanship, are beholden to the licensing board for general contractors.
Along with certifications that speak to the expertise of the contractors you’re considering; you should also consider the insurance coverage that the company is backed by. This protection could become an asset if something unexpected occurs while the contractors are working on your home. There are two main areas of insurance coverage that you’ll want to look for. Worker’s compensation coverage and liability insurance. Worker’s compensation comes into play for any incidents that lead to a contractor being injured on the job site. Liability insurance protects your home, covering any damage incurred as a result of the work being done.
If you want to know what certifications or licenses a company holds, you can simply ask or find it on their website. Any reputable contracting company will be able to provide that for you. Along with the company’s information, you should be provided with any contracts or written agreements. Having these documents will help create a more concrete arrangement between you and the contractor to avoid any miscommunications.
You wouldn’t trust someone who just started in the business with your home project. You need to feel confident that the contractors you’re hiring have proven their ability. After you’ve established that the company has the appropriate certifications, you want to check out how long the company has been operating by contacting the Secretary of State. Simply looking to see when the contractor in question opened for business can be very informative on this front. Verifying their information is correct can help wean out any sub-par “contractors”. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to call yourself a contractor when you don’t even have the proper certifications.
Any home project is subject to running into problems along the way. Many contractors are not licensed or skilled to handle any and all obstacles that may occur. Maybe you want your roof repaired; you didn’t know that the damaged shingles caused leaks that you weren’t aware of, and now the wood underneath the shingles has warped or rotted. Or maybe you’ve had a home repair in the past; the previous contractor didn’t follow protocol, and that repair must be redone before the new one can begin. By taking the time to verify their licenses and insurance, you significantly reduce the risk of having to pay another contractor to fix the others shoddy workmanship. A proven track record will help you feel reassured that you are getting help on your side.
Integrity & Quality
These days, many contracting companies are looking to make a “quick buck” and forfeit the quality of their work because they consider it to be the faster route to collecting a check. If a job isn’t done properly, the carelessness will reveal itself in the future when that “repair” doesn’t last and needs to be redone. Luckily, social media is the new “word-of-mouth”. We can learn any information with the touch of a finger. Seeking out testimonials from past clients can give you some insight into the work that the contractors have done before. While opinions of others online should be taken with a grain of salt, hearing about the experience they may have had will help you determine whether the contractors you’re considering hiring are worth your time. Now, that doesn’t mean that every bad review is necessarily true, some people are just impossible to please. Keep in mind that there are many companies that pay freelancers to create fake profiles and write false reviews (look for terminology being used that is not in the vocabulary of the general public).
Aside from reading reviews, check out any photos they have posted to their website or social media profiles. An active social media presence, with plenty of photos & videos, is a good sign. Companies that regularly showcase their workmanship shows that they’re proud of their work and want to show the world!
When looking at their shared photos you want to find anything that may make that company stand out from other ones in the area. For example, Odyssey Contracting uses a machine called the Equipter RB4000. This machine is a gasoline powered lift that is used as a tool to help keep the exterior of your home clean from the majority of shingle debris, it protects your beautiful hardscapes and landscaping by catching the shingles inside the container rather than on top of the shrubs, and lastly (most importantly) it reduces labor costs tremendously, which leads to lower costs to the consumer.
The integrity of a company starts at the top. Some owners of contracting companies may take a hands-off approach, handling the financials of the business without involving themselves in the day-to-day operations. While this is fine in some cases, owners that are more closely involved in running the business (as Odyssey does) can often be an indicator of the quality of a contracting firm, and usually means that you’re treated as an important client rather than just another number. When a company has an owner with the skillset to handle everything at the top of the business, but also can go to a home and be hands-on in the repairs, the outcome is generally of a higher quality than a corporate contracting company. This kind of involvement is a good indicator that the company is being ran with pristine expertise. Owners that operate with the hands-on mindset are more likely to care about the details of how each job is being performed. This connection will make these contractors much more pleasant for you to do business with.
To sum things up, when you’re looking for a contractor, you need to do a bit of research before signing on the dotted line. Look up their online profiles to see reviews and the quality of their work. Read reviews on Google, Facebook, Thumbtack, Angi, etc., be sure to check the good and the bad reviews to get a full picture of the company. Keep in mind that there are many companies that pay freelancers to create fake profiles and write false reviews (look for terminology being used that is not in the vocabulary of the general public). Ask the company representative for their licenses, insurance & accreditation from the materials manufacturers and so on. See if the company offers extended warranties, particularly extended warranties that are backed by the manufacturer. Last, but not least, ask for the names & numbers of previous clients in your area and call them to inquire about their experience.
Odyssey Contracting has been successfully running for 8 years and has provided services to over 10,000 homeowners. We also hold a 4.8-star rating on Google, with nearly 200 reviews. We truly value our customers and the quality of our work. You can find some peace of mind knowing that Odyssey Contracting has gone above and beyond to make sure we have as many certifications and accreditation as possible.