According to the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI), total home improvement products sales increased 4.0% in 2014 to $303 billion. The Professional Market increased 3.4% in 2014 over 2013 and the Consumer Market will see a sales increase of 4.3%. HIRI continues to expect home improvement product sales growth to accelerate over the next two years with 2015 forecasted to increase 5.7% over 2014.
Many homeowners feel that finding a trustworthy contractor is a difficult task. According to the recently released BBB Survey, 73 percent of respondents indicated that they didn’t have a great deal or a lot of trust in contractors.
A members of the Dayton Ohio BBB, we suggest that homeowners looking to make renovations, consider following BBB advice on how to choose a contractor they can trust:
Start with trust: Most homeowners have heard of, and in some cases experienced, shady contractors that ask for payment up front, perform shoddy work, and then refuse refunds or redress of issues. BBB encourages homeowners to do their homework – starting online at www.bbb.org where they can search BBB’s online directory for BBB-Accredited contractors and remodeling businesses in their area.
Get references: BBB recommends homeowners ask all contractors for local references and then take the next step by finding out if those customers were satisfied with the contractor’s work. If possible, homeowners should visit and inspect completed projects.
Ask the experts: BBB advises that homeowners find out if a contractor is a member of a professional association which has standards or a code of ethics. All BBB Accredited Businesses have agreed to uphold BBB standards for ethics in the marketplace. Homeowners can also check with BBB to learn how long a contractor has been in business and if the firm has been responsive to any complaints filed with BBB.
In February 2015, Better Business Bureau and www.Porch.com announced that homeowners can now find BBB information, including ratings and accreditation status, for millions of professionals right in their Porch search results. Porch will display BBB information on home construction, maintenance and repair companies, and the information is updated and refreshed daily.
Compare costs: Homeowners should solicit at least three bids from prospective contractors based upon the same building specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project. Homeowners need to discuss bids in detail with each contractor, making certain they understand the reasons for any variations in the prices and not automatically making a decision based on lowest price. Cost differences may include issues such as quality of materials, craftsmanship and subcontracting for specialized labor.
Check on insurance: BBB reminds homeowners to ask contractors if the company is insured against claims covering worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Further, BBB advises people to then call to verify the contractor’s insurance coverage after obtaining the name of the carrier and agency.
Are they bonded/licensed?: Not all areas of the country require licensing and bonding. However, if you live in an area where this is required, the BBB recommends that you should confirm the contractor meets all requirements and can legally operate in the state.
It’s important that homeowners make smart, informed decisions affecting their most valuable investment – their homes. For advice they can trust on finding reliable professionals to help with home improvement and remodeling projects, homeowners can turn to www.bbb.org.
About Spectrum Contracting: A second generation home builder and member in good standing of the Dayton BBB, Spectrum Contracting has over 30 years experience in custom home building, home remodeling, historic renovations, and fire and water restoration. For a complimentary consultation on your next home renovation, email Scott or call 937.477.7325.