The Coffee Break

Andriot's Blog

Ask the Expert: How to Choose a Contractor

This month’s advice comes from Doug Wilson, the resident expert at the PaintSource Network. Located in Lexington, KY, PaintSource offers guidance, tips, and resources for your painting and wood coating projects. We asked Doug to share his thoughts on choosing a good contractor. With his extensive knowledge of products, methods, and good old-fashioned workmanship, we knew he’d offer valuable insight.

Here are his top four tips:

Choose a Reputable Contractor

You can find reputable and qualified contractors through your local independent retailer (such as Andriots), friends, family, or colleagues. Look for contractors knowledgeable in their field, and make sure that they carry liability insurance. References, if available, are a plus, as are photos of previous jobs or testimonials from existing customers. The Better Business Bureau can offer good info on contractors, too.  Do your homework. It takes a little extra time now, but it’s worth it in the end.

Remember too, that this contractor will be spending time in and around your home. Choose one that you feel comfortable with. Communication is key as well – make sure that this contractor is someone you can easily communicate with before, during, and after the job’s completed. It’s important that you and your contractor are on the same page.

Another thing to note – true craftsmen in any market are usually in high demand, and are often “booked up” for a given period. Begin your contractor search early and understand that you may have to wait for the job to start.

Pay Careful Attention to Estimates

Get at least two detailed estimates for large projects. Make sure the bids are specific as to the work to be completed, jobsite prep and cleanup, warranties, materials and products, payment, etc. Carefully compare the bids; don’t assume they are the same. Ask questions. Better to ask now than to regret not doing so later. Resist the urge to go with the cheapest estimate. The old saying, “You get what you pay for” really is true.

Choose Quality Materials

Be sure your contractor chooses and uses high quality materials whether paint and stain, flooring, deck materials, and so on. Your home is an investment you want to enjoy for many years, so choosing premium, durable materials makes good sense.  Some contractors may be tempted to use cheaper materials if you aren’t specific. An independent paint store like Andriots can assist you in finding the perfect products for each home improvement project. Consult with the contractor before work begins, and have a consensus on the materials and supplies that will be used.

One More Thing

Don’t forget, this is your home – it’s a long-term investment, so treat it as such by choosing good contractors and home improvement materials. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks, Doug, for sharing your expertise with us!

PaintSource is a network of experienced industry professionals, paint tech representatives, certified coatings consultants, specialty contractors, and wood coatings specialists who share a passion for educating their clients. Their goal is to offer advice on superior methods, tools, products, and solutions based on their first hand knowledge and testing. Find more info on the Paint Source Network site.