You want to renovate your bathroom and can’t do it yourself, but horror stories about contractors give you pause. Leaky toilets, water heaters that don’t heat and questionable billing practices are among the reasons why many homeowners get by with outdated bathrooms instead of jumping into a renovation.
If you’ve put off choosing a contractor for fear of finding exactly the wrong one, here are some signs to watch for that will help you to conquer those fears and move ahead confidently.
Here are 5 signs that you can trust your bathroom contractor:
Doesn’t Make You Wonder Where They Are, and Make You Wait on Them
In a field where “better late than never” too often applies, a contractor who arrives when promised is a good sign. Being punctual for casual meetings is as important as starting and finishing the job on time.
Delays can happen to anyone, but a reputable contractor will give you a call if he’s stuck in traffic or an emergency arises. He won’t leave you hanging.
Once the work begins, he should exhibit the same professionalism as he did before you hired him. Being prompt beforehand is a good indicator of attention and care later, but don’t be afraid to remind him that your time is also valuable once the work begins.
Make time for a sit-down discussion and ask to see licenses and insurance.
He’s Licensed and Insured, and Doesn’t Mind Proving it
Any plumber doing work-for-hire needs a plumber’s license. Additionally, a broad, general contractor’s license gives you confidence that he can perform the rest of the bathroom renovation.
Bathroom contractors should also be insured. This protects you against loss in case of damage, poor work and accidents that might occur while workers are in your home.
References don’t mean a lot unless you check them out.
He has References and You’ve Checked Them
Any contractor can claim to be the best. If his work supports it, he’ll happily provide you with references. Even reputable contractors aren’t inclined to hand over mediocre references, so use them as a tool, not as a single deciding factor.
When you speak with his references, ask whether they know others who have also used his services. If so, find out if you can contact them.
A bid should be tailored to your home and needs; it shouldn’t be generic.
He Isn’t Afraid to Put His Costs in Writing
A handshake is a universal agreement, but a reputable contractor puts his rates and promises in writing. Look for the way he calculates labor costs, by the job or hourly, and whether there are special circumstances that can alter those rates.
Be wary of a contractor who gives you a bid before seeing the room with his own eyes. No two bathrooms are identical, and neither you nor he want surprises. A simple toilet replacement can turn into a costly challenge if the floor under the toilet is damaged.
He Treats You and Your Home with Respect
Your home is your castle, but it’s also a jobsite to a hired contractor and his crew. Sometimes the line between the two gets blurred.
A good contractor will protect your floors from dirty boots, won’t use (or allow his crew to use) foul language, bring food into your home or park on the lawn.
Once you find a good contractor, be sure to do your part. Their time and safety is also valuable, so have the room cleared out before workers arrive and keep children and pets away from tools and equipment. End
Carole Oldroyd is a freelance writer whose work focuses on home improvement topics and law.