Amy Matthews on how to find a star contractor

Amy Matthews

When it’s time to re-do your kitchen, you likely won’t be hammering in the new cabinets — that’s the contractor’s job.  While Amy Matthews was promoting the launch of HomeAdvisor, a website that matches home owners to home improvement contractors, the licensed contractor and host of DIY Network’s “Sweat Equity” and “Bathroom Renovations” offered tips on how to find the best person for your project.
 
Hire a legitimate contractor
“You have to know they’re licensed and insured,” Matthews says about finding a dependable contractor. “You want to make sure you’re getting someone good from a reliable source.” She suggests using tools like HomeAdvisor’s Pro Finder, which does background checks on all contractors in its database.

Find someone you like
Matthews suggests meeting with two or three contractors. If they’re all pricing the project around the same range, she recommends picking the one you  get along with best.

“There are so many decisions to be made. You’ll be calling them, they’ll be calling you, so you need to have good communication or you’ll be stressed out.”

Communicate your schedule
Touch base regularly with your contractor about any scheduling issues that might arise.
 ”If your contractor can’t start because a product didn’t arrive, they’re going to take that other job,” Matthews says.
 
Put it in writing
Before starting, it’s important to have a written agreement with a contractor for how long the project will take, Matthews advises. “You should never give more than 30 percent up front,” she says. “Thirty percent should be given midway through and the remaining percent upon completion.”

Know what you want
When planning a renovation, know exactly what design you want before hiring a  contractor.
   
“The best thing you can do for yourself is research,” Matthews says. “If you start your project and you’re still designing in your mind, it’s going to cost you a lot more.”

Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant


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