Choosing a Reputable Contractor

Remodeling is a process many people are not familiar with until it becomes time to have work done on their home. And even then, there’s a lot to learn about, like which products to use and what procedures best meet individual needs. Therefore, it’s vital to know that you can rely on the contractor you choose to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right contractor for your job so that your project doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

That’s why the Better Contractors Bureau wants to help you in your selection process of the contractor you may be hiring and offers the following checklist. The checklist is designed to help you evaluate the reliability, reputation and experience of contractors you are contemplating to call for an estimate, as well as their dedication to providing you with the best job possible.

A top-notch, professional contractor will be only too happy to supply you with answers to these questions. And, just as it makes good business sense to get three bids on your project, it also makes good sense to ask several different contractors these questions.

“We’ve also outlined some important points to consider as you evaluate the terms of your proposed job contract. Being confident you’ve selected the right contractor will help assure that you get a quality job and that your hard-earned money is wisely spent”, says BCB Executive Director, Carmen Santora.

Evaluating the Contractor

The Better Contractors Bureau suggests that you evaluate your contractor as carefully as you would a doctor or lawyer. It is certain that you will want a contractor who employs capable applicators to complete your project. It is also clear that you will need to look closely at the proposal offered, the products selected and the price/value of the entire package.

But what criteria can you use to decide if the contractor is a true professional who will stand behind his work? While there is not a single, clear-cut answer, there are a number of indicators that you can look for when going through the evaluation process.

Allow yourself an hour, more or less, to sit down with each contractor. You might be speaking with a salesperson or even the owner. Both of you need time to ask questions regarding time schedules, payments, etc. Good contractors take pride in their work, and so should the salesperson representing the company. The sales person should be confident, look professional and be knowledgeable about the products they are trying to sell you.

Checklist to help you select your final contractor—

  1. What is the full name and address of the company? (Do not accept P.O. Box numbers as an Address)!
  1. Does the Contractor have proper liability and workmen’s comp insurance coverage in case of an accident? (Have the contractor show proof)!
  1. How long has the company been in business and have you checked his reputation with the BCB?
  2. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?
  3. What is the company’s product and workmanship warranty?
  4. Does the contractor’s contract meet the requirements of Article 36A of NYS business law?( It must contain your 72 hour right to rescind, that any money given as a down payment or draw must go into a contractor’s escrow account, a start and finish date, specifications and payment schedule among other pertinent information)
  5. Is the contractor a member of the Better Contractors Bureau or other organization? If not ask why not? (The BCB is a non-profit consumer protection agency whose goal is to “Protect & Inform” the consumer and Eliminate the unscrupulous contractors in the area).
  6. Does the contractor bad-mouth his competitors? If so don’t select him!
  7. Does the contractor do the work himself or sub-contract? (Many reputable contractors sub contract their work and there is nothing wrong with it, however you should be made aware of it beforehand)
  8. Are you being high- pressured into signing a contract immediately?

The BCB has provided the checklist to help you in selecting a reputable contractor. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to call the Better Contractors Bureau office at 585-338-3600 and we will be happy to try and answer them for you or go to the BCB web site at

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