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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hiring a Contractor - Five Things You Should Do

Living in Texas, we here at Key Residential know that spring means it is time for some rather temperamental weather. Things like hail, wind, heavy rain, and tornadoes can cause significant damage to the home. And whenever bad weather hits there seems to be a lot of discussion on how to avoid home repair scammers. So what steps can you take to ensure that you are choosing a legitimate company that is not going to take your money and run?

Regardless of whether you're approaching hiring a home professional as the result of unexpected weather damage or because you've been planning on undertaking a home remodel, you need to ensure you're hiring a quality company. Projects with your home are stressful enough, so take the time to make sure you hire someone who will take care of you from start to finish. We've put together a few things to look into when hiring a home processional that will hopefully help you make the right choice.

Whether your project consists of smaller repairs or a substantial remodel
as pictured here, finding a contractor you can trust is an important step.

1. Meet with the Contractor

This one may seem like a no brainer, but it is probably one of the most important things to do when picking a home professional: meet with the contractor in person. Schedule the meeting at your home when all the decision makers can be present. This will allow the contractor time to walk through your property to assess the current conditions, begin to visualize firsthand the scope of the project you want done, and ask any clarifying questions. It will also allow you as the client to ask the contractor your own questions and get a feel for their industry knowledge and capability.

You can read more from this review and others on our Guild Quality
page. This remodel also won awards through the Dallas Builders
Association and the Greater Dallas Chapter of the National Association
of the Remodeling Industry.

2. Read Previous Client Reviews

Reviews from former clients can be a good indicator of a contractor's quality. There are quite a few third party review systems that a contractor can use to survey previous clients (Houzz, Guild Quality, Porch, or even Facebook). The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to check. Read through as many reviews as you can find to get the best idea possible of what working with that contractor is like. And if you can't find any reviews yourself, ask the contractor if they can provide you with references whom you can contact.

3. Industry Associations Membership

Check to see if the contractor is a member of any professional associations within the industry (such as the National Association of Home Builders or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry). Active membership in these associations show a commitment to the industry and maintaining their high standards. Plus, most of these professional associations require members to take continuing education courses and pay yearly dues, so non-reputable contractors are likely to steer clear. Many local chapters of these associations will have an online directory of their members that can be used by consumers looking for companies to use.

Check out our Houzz page for project photos and reviews. And feel free to
ask a question on any of our photos there if you want more information
about the project.

4. Research the Company Online

This one is trickier because mere online presence is not indicative of quality. These days anyone can create an online presence, and as such many would recommend not going online when researching contractors. But going online can be beneficial if you know what to look for. You want to find contractors with an online presence that shows they are both active and knowledgeable within the industry. Is their website/social media accounts updated regularly? What type of information are they sharing? One of the best places to research a contractor is Look for contractors who have built up their profile, who have a well stocked portfolio of projects posted to the site, and who answer the questions posed to them by consumers.

At the end of the day, you want a home that you love. Don't ruin that
with memories of a repair or remodel gone bad. 

5. Ask your Friends, Family, and/or Neighbors for Referrals

Talk to people you know and trust who recently had work done on their home and find out who they used and what they thought of the company. They may also be able to give you names of some other contractors that they spoke with in the estimation process and offer insight into what they thought of them as well. Furthermore, they can provide firsthand experience of what to expect for the projects you have in mind. More upfront knowledge can only help in the decision making process.