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by Drew Gilbreath, CIC

Along with the warm weather of spring inevitably comes the list of home improvements we would all like to make to our homes. Some are necessary maintenance and others are fun projects to increase our enjoyment of our homes.  If you are a D-I-Y kind of person that's great, but if you aren't you are going to need to hire a qualified contractor to help out. But what does a qualified contractor look like? The short answer is I don't know, but here are a few things to help you make a well informed decision when picking a contractor for your next project.

1. Are they licensed? Some contractors have to be properly licensed to work in Georgia such as plumbers, electricians and residential general contractors. You can verify your prospective contractor's license on the secretary of state's website. (www.sos.georgia.gov)

2. Do they have proper insurance? Any contractor working on your home needs to have insurance. Before hiring a contractor ask them to send you a certificate of insurance from their insurance agent. This certificate will provide proof of the coverage they have and should be currently dated. At a minimum, a contractor you hire to work at your home should have workers compensation and general liability insurance. Workers compensation provides protection for their on-the-job injuries and general liability offers protection in case they damage your property or cause an injury to someone else. Any large remodeling project like basement finishing or room additions may require additional insurance such as a builder's risk policy.

3. Remember, you get what you pay for! If an offer seems to good to be true, it probably is. Do some research on what typical pricing of a project like yours should be to make sure the bid you receive is in a reasonable range. If the bid price is too low it could result in poor work, the contractor abandoning the job, or worse, both.

"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot... It can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better." - John Ruskin

4. Get a reference. Look up the trade association for the type of work you are having done to get more info on your project and find eligible contractors. Also ask any contractor that you are thinking about working with to give you a reference to a prior customer of theirs that they did similar work for.

Protecting your home is important, so don't let just anyone work on it. Do some homework so you can have piece of mind that your project will be done right. Hire someone who has put enough thought and effort into their business as you have into your home. 

Posted 7:55 PM

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