Shandy Heil, Skinner, Patricia
REMEMBER: Cost isn’t everything when selecting a contractor.
Choosing the right contractors -- and knowing how to work with them -- can mean the difference between excellent work and shoddy work. Informed homeowners can save time and headaches and get the best value for their money. Here’s how:
Ask friends and co-workers for names. Listen to their advice. Be on the lookout for workers and contractors’ trucks in your neighborhood and ask the homeowners about them.
Make sure your builder is licensed. All building professionals listed on the Professional Rebuilding Registry are screened for the appropriate licenses/certifications. If you are using a contractor that you found through a source other than the registry, you can search for and verify Louisiana licensed contractors at www.lslbc.state.la.us, the web site of the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.
Call Contractors’ Clients
Ask the contractors for a list of customer references. Keep in mind that they will understandably give you their best references. Still, call a few names and listen carefully to what they say, and especially to how they say it. Are they enthusiastic or hesitant? If the owner is willing, take a look at the contractor’s work firsthand. This will give you a better feeling for the owner’s real attitude.
Weigh the bid amount against the other information gathered. A high bid does not necessarily mean high quality workmanship. It might mean only that the contractor is so busy that he or she will do the job only for an inflated price. Likewise, a very low bid may not necessarily mean inferior work. It may mean business is slow and the contractor wants to cover overhead expenses.
Whether you are hiring a general contractor for a large project or looking for a good plumber to repair several leaks you should follow the same guidelines.