How to Hire the Right Home Improvement Contractor

New York was dubbed the “City that Never Sleeps” for a good reason and that is the 24-hour hustle and bustle not only of traffic but people as well. Home improvement is an area which is increasingly gaining importance in NYC living. A very busy lifestyle, calls for a living space that would be worth coming home to no matter the size or type of residence. There may also be damages and functionality issues lurking somewhere and are only brought to the attention of the busy occupant when the damage is beyond repair. There is no doubt that in times when the need for maintenance, repair, renovation, and remodeling arises; the most ideal option for any New York City person is to get help from a home improvement contractor, but how do you hire the right one?

Good word of mouth is the best form of advertisement for every business operator and service provider, as well as the most damaging. Try to ask family members, friends, and neighbors for any recommendation. These people would be the best source for honest testimonials on the work of an NYC home improvement contractor. Be wary of names that come up when asking at some building materials store or at a local pool supply as these leads could just be among those that benefit from a finder’s fee scheme.

If you have nobody trustworthy to consult to regarding this search, check with the BBB or Better Business Bureau in New York first before spending minutes and hours going through the local Yellow Pages. While at it, see the list of home improvement contractors that have bad records or unresolved complaints to their names and make sure to steer clear from them. The Internet can also be a good source of information that could lead you to the right NYC home improvement contractor. You can browse through rip-off websites or simply Google the name of the professional that you are interested in, and you are sure to find either good or bad things about him. From here, you could already draw up possible candidates who have clean records.

After going through the steps, now is high time to screen them to determine the right home improvement contractor to hire. Phone each of your picks and tell them exactly the same details and get bids. When conducting the interview, never hesitate to ask many questions especially important ones. Do not base your choice on the price given by the contractor as the cheapest is not always the most economical and the most expensive does not always end up with the highest of quality. When comparing bids, consider what the contractor plans to do and the materials that he will be using. Make sure to get references to check out and verify his license.

There are numerous benefits in acquiring the services of a New York City home improvement contractor, so much more if you did your homework and hired a competent one. The time extended on going through the selection and the dollars spent would prove to be well worth it not only after the project has been finished successfully but in the long run. Hiring the right home improvement contractor for the job helps you avoid the risks of additional costs for maintenance and back jobs.

What Benefits Does Having a Contractor Website Pose For a Home Improvement Company?

The Internet has become a very powerful as well as potent tool for businesses who want to spread the word about their services or products. With just a click at the search button, people are given access to thousands of resources and websites relevant to the search made. Because of the convenience that it poses, people of all ages and walks of life now use it to look for just everything under the sun. Together with the countless industries and markets, home improvement companies have also witnessed and embraced the importance of having a website.

Today, when home owners decide that they need to hire a professional contractor to do repairs, home additions, landscaping, renovation, or just about any maintenance and home beatification job; one of the most popular and among the first resource to cross their minds would be the Internet. Contractor websites helps these needy home owners in their hunt for the right home improvement professional or company by making the search process a lot easier and faster.

Visibility and accessibility are two important benefits of running a website for your home improvement company. Marketing-wise, having a contractor website helps you reach a wider variety of consumers as the details you advertise about your business will be available not just locally, but even world-wide. With this great exposure, you are also opening your doors to possible partnerships or other feasible opportunities as you are also letting your expertise be known to business-minded people as well. Even if you are asleep or busy attending to other things, your home improvement company website works for you 24/7. This increases your chances of growing your customer base and, of course, profits. With it, people can send you messages anytime and your company can respond to them in the soonest possible time.

No matter how small your home improvement company is, with a contractor website, you are given the chance to go head to head with medium and even the largest companies in the industry. An important note to remember though is that, you may be great at fixing or building things, but leave the construction and design of your website to the experts. Just think of the reasons why home owners choose to hire people like you instead of doing things themselves, and the same reasons should also work well with you on this position. Hiring the pros leaves you with enough time to do what you do best, minimizes the risks for additional maintenance and backjobs and saves you more money. What your contractor service website may cost you now would prove to be many times more valuable in both the short and long run.

With the technological advancements now, life is made more convenient, and that is how your many potential clients and existing customer base would prefer to have it. Building and running a website for your home improvement company would not only serve beneficial to your business but to those who patronize it as well. It is one of the most effective strategies that you could ever pursue for growth which would definitely put you in a win-win situation.

Become Your Own Personal Home Improvement Specialist or Hire It Out

If you look around your current home there are endless projects you can do, and many of them will save you money on your energy bills, or increase the property value. Not to mention there is a good sense of pride knowing that you have upgraded your home, and that you did it yourself. Perhaps this is why big box home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have done so well here the United States and abroad. Interestingly enough, they are not doing as well in all markets. Okay so, let’s talk about shall we?

On September 15, 2012 the Wall Street Journal had an article “Home Depot: Chinese Prefer Do-It-For-Me” by Laurie Burkitt. It turns out that in China citizens prefer often enough to pay someone else to do the work rather than do it themselves, and the article noted that Home Depot is considering closing all 7 of its stores in China.

You would think that the Chinese would enjoy doing things themselves, and also wishing to save the money. Many come from humble beginnings, and families who were engaged in farming, they had to do everything themselves, and make do. Nevertheless, city life has changed much of that, and perhaps this is why the home improvement centers and big box stores of this type just haven’t caught on in China. Maybe they will the future, but that is an unknown that large corporations can’t risk with shareholders equity, or the need to maintain quarterly profits in their Chinese operations.

It’s not that the Chinese are not resourceful people, they very much are rather they would simply wish to put their trust in a tradesman, a specialist who knows what they are doing. In many regards this is good for small business development, and it shows a respect for the craftsman. Still, small businesses looking for building materials and supplies are more apt to go to a wholesale distributor rather than a Home Depot big box home improvement center. Do you see that point?

You shouldn’t be too surprised with this as all cultures are different and each values different things, and different groups within their own society often have different thinking. Middle-class Chinese would rather hire someone who specializes to come in and do the work for them rather than doing it themselves and perhaps screwing it up.

They wouldn’t want anything that wasn’t done correctly, and they probably do not trust themselves doing the job because they don’t have a decade or more of experience in that particular home improvement skill. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Hire Licensed and Respected Home Improvement Companies

Finding the right home improvement company to update or renovate your home doesn’t have to be a stressful and disheartening process. Yet most homeowners have no idea where to start because they are bombarded with bad press about contractors who are dishonest, inexperienced and downright unreliable. Homeowners today are wary of who they can trust.

Home Improvement Complaints and Scams:

“With lower-rate mortgages tempting homeowners to trade up to a bigger house, or to refinance and expand or repair their existing home, we’re finding that construction and home improvement activity is way up, and with it is the number of complaints in those areas,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Edwin R. Rodriguez. (Consumer Affairs, January 2006)

“Home improvement complaints rank as the top consumer complaint in Connecticut and elsewhere across the country,” Rodriguez said. “While home improvements themselves can be expensive, any problems that arise often cost consumers thousands more to fix. Unfortunately, there have been many cases where a homeowner is left with a huge problem and has no financial means of getting it repaired.” (Consumer Affairs, June 2006)

Basic scams usually do not occur with accredited companies, so make sure the company you use is licensed. “The law requires home improvement contractors to register and follow certain procedures for a reason, to protect homeowners,” Rodriguez said. “This includes complying with state laws that assure consumers a level of financial protection.” (Consumer Affairs, June 2006)

Be Wary of Certain Sales Tactics:

According to the National Consumer Law Center at consumerlaw.org, unscrupulous contractors mostly target senior citizens. Do not fall into the trap of the following sales tactics that take advantage of homeowners:

o “Bait and Switch” – offers low prices for installed items like windows and home siding, and then tells the homeowner the item is out of stock and can only be replaced with a high-priced substitute.

o Misrepresent the urgency of a needed repair.

o Claim the item is more expensive than advertised because it has to be “custom made” to fit the home.

o Misrepresent that the consumer is receiving a discount because the home is selected to model the repair when, in reality, the consumer is paying market price or more.

o Misrepresent the energy savings, health benefits and value added to the home.

o Misrepresent the terms on which financing is likely to be arranged.

Practices to Follow for Finding the Right Contractor:

If you hire a contractor with a license and a good reputation (such as the Home Remodelers GroupĀ®), you are guaranteed to avoid unfinished work, financial wrongdoing and fraud.
The National Consumer Law Center has a list of suggestions for homeowners looking for a home improvement company:

o Do not hire an unknown contractor that solicits business by knocking on your door. Deal with companies recommended by friends or reputable building supply stores.

o Before agreeing to hire any home improvement contractor, get a second estimate for the same work from another contractor.

o Get references for the contractor and speak to those references. Ask about satisfaction and any problems that arose.

o Look at other work performed by the same contractor.

o Many states require contractors to be licensed and/or bonded. Check with the state licensing body to see if the contractor you are considering is licensed.

o Get a written contract describing explicit specifications of the work, the price (including details of any financing or credit terms), the responsibility for cleaning up, and the hourly rate for any added work. Ask for guarantees and other promises to be made in writing.

o If the written documents are different from oral promises, do not sign them.

o A 3-day right-to-cancel applies to door-to-door sales and home improvement loans even after the papers have been signed.

o Do not allow a contractor to begin work until financial arrangements to pay for the work are complete.

o Do not agree to pay the final payment until the project is finished.

o Do not consolidate other debts with a home improvement loan.

o If problems with a contractor or home improvement lender arise, get help from a lawyer or housing counselor immediately.

Take Care of Your Home: