The critical success factor in any construction project, is the contractor. A qualified and experienced contractor knows what results are required for owner satisfaction, as well as what will lead to dissatisfaction down the road. Selecting the right contractor, however, can be quite confusing for most people. The following recommendations from the Certified Contractor's Network (CCN) and several roofing manufactures, are provided to educate you, the consumer.

      

Spending The Time Will Save Money

Allow yourself a minimum of 1 hour to sit down with each contractor. Both of you need to explore the problems, products, and prices. You will be surprised at how many options and questions can be discussed with a professional contractor.

Taking only 1 hour of time getting to know and qualifying the contractor prior to awarding your project can save endless hours of time dealing with dissatisfaction. 

Most dissatisfaction involves an owner who did not fully know what they selected or committed themselves to. A professional contractor will take pride in his work and will have no problem discussing your options, his previous experience, and his list of satisfied customers.

  

Know What To Ask

Make sure to ask these seven key questions!

• What is the full name and address of the company?

• Does the company carry insurance and is the coverage adequate?

• Is the company a licensed contractor? Is the contractor a member of a trade association and in good standing?

• How long has the contractor been in business?

• What is the contractor's track record for handling complaints?

• What is the company's workmanship warranty?

• Specific questions for specific projects.

   

*Information provided by CCN

  

Do Your Homework

• Find out if the contractor is a member of a professional association - such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) or the National Association for Home Builders (NAHB) - that has standards or a code of ethics for members.


• Check with your local housing authority (state, county or city) to see if the contractor is required to meet certain licensing or bonding criteria in your area and then make sure that he is in compliance.

• Request a copy of the contractor’s certificate of insurance for workers’ compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents, and call the carrier to verify the information.

Buyer Beware

Most contractors are honest professionals. However, as in any buying situation, it’s your job to be on the lookout for the unscrupulous few. Here’s what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) warns are some of the danger signs of fraud*:

• Fantastic promises or wild deals

• High-pressure sales tactics or threats to push you into signing up on the spot

• Attempts to scare you into signing for "urgent" repairs

• Offers to consolidate your existing loans through a home improvement contractor

• Trial purchases, or guarantees of significant discounts, if you allow your home to be used as a "demo"

• Offers of a "bargain" price using "leftover materials" from a contractor who makes unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home

  

*Fixing Up Your Home and How to Finance It, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1995.