Part of being a homeowner is taking care of your investment. Whether you are seeking to hire a contractor to make repairs or improvements on your property, it pays to be careful about who you hire. Fall River homeowners should take care to ask potential contractors specific questions that will help them to identify whether or not they would be a good choice for the intended project. It’s not worth it to go “cheap” on the labor just to end up having to pay someone else to come in and make adjustments to it later.
Your local insurance agency in Fall River should also be contacted whenever you do a home improvement project to ensure that you are properly protected. When you increase the value in your home, either through a kitchen remodel or by finishing your garage, your will want to make sure that it is covered under your Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy. Trust Sullivan Insurance Agency for all of your needs regarding home insurance in Fall River and the surrounding South Coast region.
Tip #1 – Get a Comprehensive Bid
When you hire a contractor to come out and place a bid for work on your home, make sure that bid is fully itemized. Some contractors will only want to give Fall River homeowners a single price for the complete project, but it is in your best interest to demand an itemized bid. This will help you see exactly what you are being charged for each portion of the project and have a better idea – in writing – of what the job will entail.
Some of the things that should be included in an itemized bid include the materials and the labor; demolition and the removal of trash; carpentry, electrical or plumbing work; any flooring work; HVAC adjustments and ductwork; drywall and painting; and anything else that would be included in your residential remodeling project. Again, check with your insurance agency in Fall River to make sure you have the proper coverage for this type of work.
Tip #2 – Get a Fixed Price
Once you agree upon all of the details regarding the contracted work, make sure to get a fixed price instead of an estimate. Some contractors use the term “estimate” to mean a base price that will probably go up as the project progresses. Get a fixed price and make sure that the contractor has to come to you for a written and signed approval if there are any surprises that come up during the project. While not all contractors work this way, it is still a good idea to insist on a fixed price. Once the work is completed, make any necessary adjustments to your Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy through your local agent.
Tip #3 – Ask a Lot of Questions
Before you sign a contract, make sure that you ask the contractor how long they have been in business, get details on their level of experience and even ask for references to other homeowners that they have provided services to in the past. Get a business card that features a real address, not just a Post Office box, and a local phone number. If you get references, actually take the time to contact them and ask them how they liked the work that the contractor did for them. If they offer to send photos or other details, gladly accept.
Make sure that the contractor is licensed and insured to work in Massachusetts. Your home insurance in Fall River won’t cover any damages that are directly due to working with an unlicensed or uninsured contractor. This includes home remodeling projects, landscaping, electrical work, plumbing, septic system servicing, HVAC installation and repair, as well as a host of other things that Fall River homeowners typically need to have done. Speak with your agent if you have any questions about what is covered – and what isn’t.
Tip #4 – Inquire Regarding Suppliers
Believe it or not, the suppliers that a contractor uses can be indicative of the type of work that they do. Tile companies, lumber yards, major manufacturers and even showrooms for kitchens and bathrooms, all paint a picture of the type of materials they use and the business that they run. If they work with major brand names or are authorized dealers with specific well-known brands, that speaks volumes for their credibility. You can even use local suppliers as references to find out whether the contractor has a good reputation in the industry.
Tip #5 – Meet Face-to-Face
If the contractor tells you that he wants to come out to your property to meet with you before providing you with an estimate, that’s a good sign. Someone who only wants to work over the phone, online or via text won’t provide you with the quality of services that you need. Meet with the company owner or job foreman, as well as with the people who will actually be doing the physical labor. You want to know who you are working with and establish a good relationship throughout the project.
Contact Sullivan Insurance Agency in Fall River
Whenever you do any work on your home, make sure to contact your home insurance in Fall River to determine if your Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy needs to be changed. Even minor upgrades, such as moving to granite countertops from Formica, should be noted in your policy. If you ever need to make a claim, you want to get the full value of that investment returned to you in repairs or replacement. Fall River homeowners can contact Sullivan Insurance Agency by calling 508-679-9111.