After a hot and steamy summer, most of us are ready for autumn!
Here are some tips to prepare your home for a New England autumn.
1~ Check your windows & doors for air and water leaks
2~ Check gutters & downspouts for proper drainage
3~ Check waste pip flanges & chimneys for leaks
4~ Check decks, porches and stairs for damage
5~ Check handrails and railings for safety
6~ Check your basement for cracks & leaks
7~ Check for damaged or missing roofing shingles
8~ Check to make sure your siding is propertly secure
Please give us a call if you find any issues or need help with any preparations for fall 508-823-2413.
As a company, we do around 600 estimates a year. To say we have a lot of experience meeting new customers and pricing potential projects is an understatement. With that in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide some words of advice to homeowners looking to hire a professional contractor to perform home improvements.
Before calling random contractors, here are some things to think about and do:
- Determine how much money you can and/or want to spend. It is imperative to have a budget.
- Make a list of priorities for your project. What do you want and what do you need?
- Do some research on the types of materials you would like to use on
- your project. Between what is available online and what information can be gained from lumber yards and other retailers, you can research every product available on the market.
- Ask friends, family and co-workers if they have experience with any contractors. If so, would they use them again or not? What was their experience?
- Consult with resources like the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List to either figure out who to call and who to avoid.
- Search online for contractors in your area. If they do not have a website, you may want to skip over them. Companies that spend money on a website recognize how many people perform online research to make purchases. They tend to be more current and willing to do what it takes to attract and keep customers. Do they have references online? Do they have photos of projects they have completed?
- Call three contractors and schedule appointments to have them come out to your home. Explain what you are looking to do, so that they send out the right person to consult with. Some companies have people who specialize in different types of work.
- Generate a “scope of work” for your project. If you have items that you want included in your proposal, list them. If you have an idea of what you want something to look like, draw it.
- Give each contractor the same scope of work. This will allow every contractor that you meet with to have the same information. With that, everyone can price the project on the same basis. It will give you a better opportunity to compare “apples-to-apples”.
- Ask each contractor for detailed, written proposals.
- Select the contractor that you feel is the best fit for you and your proje
- ct. The best price is not always the best option. Perhaps the cheapest price does not include everything that the others do. Make sure you are truly comparing each contractor and the respective proposals on an even basis.
- Ensure the contractor that you select meets the following criteria: have a Licensed MA Construction Supervisor’s License, hold a Home Improvement Contractor’s license, and be fully insured with sufficient General Liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance.
- Ask the contractor for references. Do not be afraid to ask for the last three completed projects, rather than their three best customers. You want to get a good grasp on what you can expect from the contractor and what other homeowners have experienced.
- Demand a detailed, written contract. Ensure that the contractor includes a “Workmanship Warranty” and a “Rite of Cancellation”.
Basically, while I took the long road in explaining what every homeowner should do, it really is very simple. Do your homework. Make sure you have a firm understanding of what is being priced. Know what you are agreeing to when you sign a contract. Make sure you are protected.