When making the important decision to hire a contractor to complete your home renovation project, doing a bit of research at the beginning will help you find the right person for the job. Even if you find the best home improvement materials, the experience level of your installer can have a huge impact on the final look and lifespan of your renovation. Before you decide, here are some important steps you should take:
Step 1: Search for installers in your area
You can find certified installers by using local search tools, or searching national or state association directories. Here are some great resources:
- National Directories and Review Sites:
- Top Installers focuses on wood and tile flooring
- buildzoom has profiles on most licensed contractors in the USA
- The Blue Book focuses on general contractors and builders
- Yelp focuses on restaurants and spas but has renovation categories too
- Angie’s list and HomeAdvisor have profiles on a range of local service providers
- Click here for a list of Wood Flooring Associations and links
- Click here for a list of Tile Installation Industry Associations and links
Step 2: Shortlist and get estimates from 3 different contractors
The best installers will address your key priorities. Price, availability, state licenses, certification, insurance and strong references tend to be the most important factors in finding a quality installer. To hire the best candidate, request bids (in writing) from at least 3 installers and use this as an opportunity to review their communication, timing and professionalism. This is also a great time to ask questions to ensure you both understand the scope of your project.
Step 3: Rank, choose, confirm availability, and hire your top pick
Professional installers should provide you with a quote/estimate in a timely manner, and clearly communicate their plan, key challenges, and all costs associated with the project. Quotes should include comparable specifications, labor, any installation materials or supplies provided by the installer, and clear project timing.
It is also important to create clear payment terms with agreed-upon milestones. Your contract or quote should include these terms and any penalties for missing deadlines.
A note on price: The best installers won’t necessarily offer the lowest bid, and installation prices will vary by region, product, and experience/ reputation. Price is also influenced by how easily an installer can schedule your project with their team. Find out more information on the factors that influence the cost of an installation here.
Following these three steps will set you on right path to finding the best professional installer for your project.