Although many homeowners possess a small amount of skill with regard to home improvement, few of them are equipped to tackle the types of jobs handled by professional contractors. That being the case, whenever a major structural, aesthetic, electrical or plumbing issue arises, you’d be wise to seek out a good contractor. However, as is the case with most professions, not all contractors are equally obliging, and selecting the wrong one can have a number of undesirable consequences. As such, homeowners looking to save themselves a potential headache should keep an eye out for the following qualities the next time they find themselves in the market for a contractor.

Willingness to Provide Written Estimates

To help ensure that you aren’t hit with a bevy of surprise costs, a good contractor will provide you with a detailed written estimate before commencing work on a project. This estimate should contain a detailed rundown of individual material and labor costs and give you a solid idea of exactly what you’re being charged for. Conversely, any contractor who insists on playing things by ear and/or refuses to offer up a detailed estimate should be taken out of the running immediately. Few things are more frustrating than being presented with a final bill that’s loaded with hidden fees and well above the initial estimate.  

Is Licensed and Insured

It’s strongly advised that you only work with contractors who are licensed within your jurisdiction. While doing business with an unlicensed contractor may seem cheaper at the outset, you’re likely to get a lower quality of work, as these individuals often lack the same level of experience and expertise as licensed contractors. Furthermore, any contractor with whom you do business should be fully insured. This way, any accidental damage caused to your property in the course of their work will be fully covered. 

In addition to possessing proper licensing and insurance, any good contractor should be willing to provide proof of either one at a moment’s notice. Wanting to see proof of licensing and/or insurance is perfectly reasonable, and if a contractor attempts to give you the runaround in response to this request, you’d be wise to explore other options. So, when looking online for ‘contractors near me, remember to treat these factors as prerequisites.     

Has Garnered Positive Client Feedback

Every contractor you encounter is liable to bill themselves as efficient and dependable. However, as is the case when vetting any type of professional, getting the full story generally requires seeking input from the people who matter most – former clients. Fortunately, consumer feedback is easier to access than ever in the digital age, and you should have no trouble finding reviews for local contractors. If client feedback reveals that a contractor is trustworthy and easy to work with, you’ve likely found a winner. However, if you notice that the majority of feedback for a certain contractor is overwhelmingly negative, it’s probably in your best interest to pursue other candidates.    

Willingness to Own Mistakes

Virtually every contractor makes mistakes at some point. On-the-job blunders are part of being human, and provided no one gets hurt, most mistakes are fixable. However, if a contractor attempts to charge you for the time, materials and effort needed to remedy their mistakes, you may have a problem. Worse yet, if a contractor insists that they aren’t to blame for a mistake that’s clearly their fault, you’re liable to find yourself in a very unenviable position. 

Any respectable contractor will fully realize and acknowledge when they’re in the wrong and do everything they can to fix the issue in a timely manner. Ideally, a good contractor will be able to complete their work without any blunders, but should they occur, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll accept responsibility. 

A good contractor can be an invaluable ally to any responsible homeowner. Given how much upkeep and maintenance are involved with homeownership, knowing people who are skilled in a variety of disciplines can prove tremendously. Of course, as most longtime homeowners can attest, all contractors are not created equal. While some always complete jobs on time and on budget, others make poor use of resources and consistently miss deadlines. To prevent yourself from giving your business to the wrong contractor, limit your choices to people who embody the traits discussed above.