We've Created A Comprehensive Set Of Standards You Can Use To Evaluate ANY Contractor You Consider Hiring.

We've always done a good job and treated our customers right. And we've been able to build a nice business because of it. But we've noticed over the years that some consumers will choose less-than-reputable companies to do jobs for them usually because they are quoted less money. Don't get me wrong. We are all for good, honest competition, but it pains me to see good folks risk their hard earned money with contractors who have no track record, or worse, a bad (but hidden) track record.

Industry Standards Weren't Tough Enough.

Before you hire any company to work on your home, make sure you consult each section below and INSIST that the company comply with EVERY SINGLE STANDARD listed. If you do, chances are excellent you'll get exactly what you want out of your project.

Stability

You need to make sure that any contractor you do business with has proven themselves in the past, and will be there if you need them in the future. Don’t just ASK the contractor if they are stable; look for tangible proof of longevity and financial stability by asking for the items listed on this page.

What To Look For: Proof of Establishment

Why It’s Important: Believe it or not, many contractors use a pickup truck for a showroom and an answering machine for an office. Make sure that any contractor you’re dealing with is substantial enough to have a real office, with all the normal business functions – reception, accounting, customer service, etc. If a contractor does not have an office, that should tell you something. Don’t fall for the “we just use our trucks as offices!” line.

What To Look For: Proof of Insurance

Why It’s Important: You need to know if your contractor carries General Liability insurance. A sizable contractor will carry no less than $1,000,000 of coverage. If their insurance policy can’t cover potential damages, then the contractor would be personally liable. If he can’t cover the damages himself, you’ll have no legal recourse and will end up paying for any damages or injuries yourself.

Reputation

One way to judge a home improvement or renovation company is to find out what others have to say. A good reputation is earned through years of giving good service, treating people right, doing what you say you’ll do, going the extra mile, respecting your customers and standing behind your warranties. The following will help you accurately judge the reputation of any company or contractor.

What To Look For: Memberships

Why It’s Important: Any reputable company will be a member of at least the Better Business Bureau. Memberships in a trade association, like the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), imply some quality and ethical integrity on the part of the contractor. You may want to call the organization to make sure their membership is current.

What To Look For: An Experienced Team

Why It’s Important: Just about every home remodeling company will tell you that they have “experienced installers,” but the fact is that there’s a shortage of qualified installers and craftsmen in the remodeling industry, and lots of turn-over. This makes for inconsistent, and in some cases, neglected training as well as staff members with pretty rough edges. Look for a well-qualified and experienced staff like the one at Bail Home Services.

What To Look For: Accolades

Why It’s Important: If a contractor has been in business for any length of time—and doing a good job—they will most likely have been written about in a magazine or newspaper, received an award of some kind, or become certified from an association or trade organization. Any company that can’t produce at least SOME of these kinds of accolades might not be worthy of accolades!

Professionalism

Most importantly, a contractor has to be competent to do the job right the first time. Competence comes from training, experience, and good old-fashioned hard work. As you evaluate a contractor, look for signs that they can do the job right the first time.

What To Look For: Standardized Pricing

Why It’s Important: You may find that estimates for identical work may vary greatly. Look for a company or contractor that adheres to standardized price lists. Otherwise, they’re at liberty to charge you pretty much any amount they think you’ll pay.

What To Look For: Worker Conduct Agreement

Why It’s Important: This compliance agreement, signed by the workers, is a 17-point contract prohibiting the use of alcohol, drugs, foul language, misconduct, or other bad behavior on a job site. It also gives appearance standards. Keep in mind that not everything is perfect, but this agreement will greatly reduce the likelihood of problems.

What To Look For: No Sales Pressure Policy

Why It’s Important: Many unethical contractors will resort to high-pressure sales tactics to get you to buy before you’ve had an opportunity to do proper due diligence on them. If you know nothing about the contractor prior to the sales call (from literature, references, online information), and they give you a low-ball price “but only if you buy right this minute,” you should be wary. Any time you feel uncomfortable or unduly pressured in a sales environment, you should ask the contractor to “back off.” Reputable companies will have a no-tricks, no-pressure sales pledge signed by the owner, sales manager, and each sales associate.

What To Look For: Job Site Cleanup Roster

Why It’s Important: Your home and yard should be cleared of large debris, and dangerous materials daily by the crew. After the job is completed, a total home clean-up should take place, including nail/screw detection (with a specialized magnet) and removal of any hazardous materials in your house or yard. Make sure your contractor has a pre-determined daily jobsite cleanup routine, and a more thorough cleanup routine upon completion of the job.

Workmanship

Most importantly, a contractor has to be competent to do the job right the first time. Competence comes from training, experience, and good old-fashioned hard work. As you evaluate a contractor, look for signs that they can do the job right the first time.

What To Look For: Warranty

Why It’s Important: The bottom line is, a company will stand behind the work they do or they won’t. Only the most trustworthy and competent contractors put their warranty right up front to you. No fine print, no paragraphs of endless exceptions.

Naturally, you’ll want to check the stability and reputation of the contractor to make sure they’ll actually be around to fulfill on the warranty if necessary.

What To Look For: Jobsite Photos

Why It’s Important: A contractor who serves his customers well should be proud to present pictures of their work. Ask to see photos of at least a dozen completed jobs. If pictures are not available, beware.

What To Look For: Experience & Certification

Why It’s Important: Ultimately, you want to find a contractor that’s done hundreds of jobs like yours. If they have, chances are they know what they’re doing. Think about it though, what contractor is going to tell you they don’t have experience with your kind of project? So, since you’re not a home improvement expert, how can you tell if they know what they’re doing? Here are 2 questions most contractors hope you’ll never ask. The answers will give you a very good feel for their level of experience:

Reputable contractors will have some kind of formal training and, most likely, certification in one or more area.