The powerful storms that rolled through St. Louis last weekend have left many residents with a lot of damage, and the need to find a good general contractor to make repairs and even make some major renovations.
Unfortunately there are also many storm chasing, fly-by-night operations that are poised to take advantage of homeowners who have found themselves in a bind and in need of repairs.
When hiring a contractor for a home renovation or repair project the most important thing you can do is a little bit of homework before making their selection – it can save thousands of dollars and can help make sure you get a quality job for your money.
Here are a few important tips for selecting a general contractor for your storm repairs, renovations, or additions:
Keep it Local – Avoid the storm chasers who roll into town specifically to take advantage or storm victims and support your local economy by hiring a contractor in St. Louis, and preferably one headquartered within a reasonable driving distance to your home. By keeping it local you may also shave some costs and time off of your project because subs and materials are more likely to come from local suppliers.
Check Credentials – Make sure that your contractor is a member of a nationally recognized, professional organization such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the local chapter of the Home Builders Association (HBA), or National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). It’s easy to determine their affiliation by looking for membership affiliation on their website, or simply by asking them during your initial conversation. Many organizations will also list member companies and contractors on their websites, which can also be a great way to start your start your contractor search. These memberships are important because they support their reputation, but many of the associations also require ongoing education as part of their membership, meaning you can be confident your builder is up to date and knowledgeable.
Check the BBB – One of the best resources for customers who are considering doing business with anyone new, it only takes a few seconds to search for a builder’s name or company on the Better Business Bureau’s website to see if there are any past complaints, to check out their rating, and make sure they are approved.
Nothing Beats a Referral – Happy clients develop a good relationship with their contractor over the course of their home project, and the contractor should be happy to pass along contact information for a few past clients. But be wary if they can’t, or won’t, give this information to you – this red flag could mean they haven’t been in business very long, or that they have a series of bad projects in their past.
When hiring a general contractor it may be tempting to jump to the lowest bid blindly, however taking a company’s track record and qualifications into account when making you decision can prevent a lot of hassle, wasted money, and disappointment.