Home improvement has grown in popularity over home buying.  New Construction of houses are in a downturn due to limited inventory and high supply costs.  Home renovations are grabbing the market with 80 percent of homeowners planning or starting renovations on their existing homes. Top projects include kitchen remodeling, bathroom conversions to safer showers, reclaiming basements, adding a deck for outdoor living, and improving energy efficiency. Finding a perfect home improvement company comes down to five essential factors.

  1. Experience

    Experience refers to length and quality. Length of experience in the neighborhood is important because of the contractor’s relationships with the vendors will benefit your project.  Quality of experience refers to familiarity with your work type.  This ensures your contractor will anticipate obstacles, prevent hazards, and complete tasks on time.  Check the industry experience of your contractor online, and with reference letters from their previous clients.

  2. Performance

    Health and Safety Performance ask if the state’s Department of Health or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have taken enforcement action against them for health or safety. It is vital to know that your contractor has the right standards and procedures to ensure the workplace is healthy and safe.  Remember their workplace is your home.

  3. Risks

    Risks associated with the global pandemic should be disclosed. Travelling abroad and working in high-risk sites will present risks for your family.  Ask what protective equipment is being used by employees.  Ask what your length of exposure and proximity will be during the job.  Financial stability of the company should be considered to ensure that the work will be completed.

  4. Documentation

    Documentation encompasses insurances, licenses, and registrations. Contractors need public liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.  They also need OSHA compliance certificates for safety training.  Work specific licenses for a home contractor is issued by New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI). A New Jersey home repair contractor who executes financed home repair contracts on the goods or services provided to New Jersey consumers for home repair work must be licensed.   A home repair contractor who deals strictly in cash installment payments over a period of 90 days or less or accepts credit card payments does not need to obtain this license. All home repair contractors, regardless of payment method, must also contact NJ Division of Consumer Affairs concerning required registration. You can obtain information by calling 973-504-6370 or at njconsumeraffairs.gov/hic/

  5. Communication

    Communication is the deciding factor for most homeowners. Communicating the scope of the job, the timeline to completion, problems that arise, and satisfaction with the work done is essential.  Having a designated point person and a set contact method and schedule for communication should be made clear when hiring your contractor.  This will prevent disappointments in the future.

Choosing a good contractor is complicated business.  Working with a good contractor should be simple if you consider these five factors to protect your interests.  You goal remains getting the best person to do the job right.

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