It’s that time again, the promise of spring is just around the corner. Many Acadiana homeowners are thinking of ways to freshen up their home with additions, bathroom renovations, new windows, a new roof or other costly home improvements.
Finding a competent and reliable contractor is the first step to a successful and satisfying home improvement project.
The Better Business Bureau has a great place to begin your search for a trustworthy contractor: www.bbb.org. We say Start With Trust®. It’s important to be cautious when you hire someone to work on what is probably your most valuable financial possession.
Home improvement, repair and maintenance contractors are everywhere and often advertise online, in newspapers, magazines and phone books, as well as on radio and TV. A choice can be extremely confusing. Based on the BBB’s experience, please don’t consider an advertisement an indication of the quality of a contractor’s work.
TheBetter Business Bureau of Acadiana suggests that you:
· Get written estimates from several firms.
· Ask for explanations for price variations.
· Don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder.
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you may choose to work with a number of different professionals:
· General Contractors manage all aspects of your project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits, and scheduling inspections. They also work with architects and designers.
· Specialty Contractors install particular products, such as roofs, windows, cabinets and bathroom fixtures.
· Architects design homes, additions, and major renovations. If your project includes structural changes, you may want to hire an architect who specializes in home remodeling.
· Designers have expertise in specific areas of the home, such as kitchens and baths.
· Design/Build Contractors provide one-stop service. They see your project through from start to finish. Some firms have architects on staff; others use certified designers.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) is offering “Request A Quote,” a free service that allows visitors to the www.acadiana.bbb.orgto request bids from companies that meet BBB standards. This tool allows the BBB to connect consumers to trustworthy companies in the Acadiana area.
The service can work in two ways:
· A person viewing a company’s Reliability Report at www.acadiana.bbb.org can click on“Request A Quote” to seek an estimate, proposal or information directly from that business.
· You can also ask for a list of businesses in one of more than 2,000 categories, many in the home improvement types of businesses even narrowing the list to those within a specified distance from the user’s zip code. The user then may choose the BBB Accredited Businesses from whom they would like to get an estimate,proposal or more information. The selected businesses are notified by e-mail of the request.
Doing your “homework” before you hire a professional is extremely important.
Interview each contractor you’re considering. Here are some questions to ask.
· How long have you been in business?
· Are you licensed and registered with the state?
· How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year?
· Will my project require a permit?
· May I have a list of references?
· Will you be using subcontractors on this project?
· What types of insurance do you carry?
Talk with some of the remodeler’s former customers. They can help you decide if a particular contractor is right for you. You may want to ask:
· Can I visit a completed job?
· Were you satisfied with the project? Was it completed on time?
· Did the contractor keep you informed about the status of the project, and any
problems along the way?
· Would you recommend the contractor?
· Would you use the contractor again?
Start with Trust®.Check with the BBB before doing business. The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising,investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.