Hiring The Best Contractor In Scranton
At some point in time, you may need to rely upon a contractor to service your home. Whether your planning a simple bathroom renovation or plan to build a addition on your home, choosing the right professional is vital. While there are many important factors to consider, when selecting a contractor, below are 4 key elements of consideration. We will cover more items in future post.
Licensing- What exactly does this mean? Unfortunately, not too much. The state of Pennsylvania does not have any license requirements for contractors working in the state.
The PA Attorney General implemented a Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) which outlines some specific requirements on home improvement transactions and requires home improvement professionals to register with the state.
The HICPA does not uphold any standards of experience, qualifications, or continuing education. HICPA information can be found at: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Registrations/HIC_Contractors/Act_132_Home_Improvement.pdf
The state places local municipalities in charge of their own contractor licensing, testing, and code enforcement. There are a significant amount of municipalities in PA that do not have any licensing requirements beyond the state HICPA.
Some local cities, such as Wilkes Barre, require a city license for contractors to conduct business within the city. The Wilkes Barre license requires license applicants to pass an exam based upon building codes and regulations regarding their trade. These additional efforts made by the cities help protect homeowners, however the specific practices vary for each municipality.
Insurance- There are a variety of different insurance requirements for a contractor operating a business in the Scranton area. The two types of insurance which are most important to a homeowner are general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. Both of these insurance policies are required for a contractor operating a business in Pennsylvania.
Ensure any service providers working on your home carry the proper insurance. A ‘certificate of insurance’ is a document which provides basic policy information. This document should be readily available, upon your request.
If a contractor does not carry the proper insurance, they should not be considered for your project. If a contractor is willing to conduct business illegally (while putting themselves, employees, and their customers at risk), what other corners may they be cutting?
Liability insurance coverages can vary from one policy to another. When a contractor procures a policy, it is written for the specific type of work in which the company conducts. Each policy has limits and exclusions based upon the needs of their business
Worker compensation insurance is required for all employees within a company. This insurance is for protection of both the employee and the customer. If an employee is injured on the job, workers comp insurance is designed to relieve the financial burden of medical expenses.
Experience- Does the contractor you’re considering with have specific skills that will be beneficial for your project? What training, certifications, and credentials do the employees have?
Each building trade has its own industry organizations which sets standards of performance, is the contractor familiar with these standard and how do they ensure quality standards are met?
The knowledge, skills, and quality control efforts of contractor are critical for a satisfactory standard of work in your home. Without formal licensing and education standards for contractors near Scranton, it is important to interview contractors and learn who will be the best fit for your project.
Choosing a contractor with proficiency with projects similar to yours often the best choice. Speak with their past clients and visit their homes, if possible. Homeowners that have completed similar projects are often an excellent source of information.
The Estimate- To effectively compare contractors and their projected cost of the project, the estimate should be complete and thorough. Materials, methods, and timelines can greatly impact cost of a remodeling project. Having concise information allows you understand what is and what is not included. Most contractors will provide free estimates for you, however, it is not uncommon for design/build firms to charge a nominal fee for design collaboration, material specifications, and drawings
Hiring an architect or designer before meeting with a contractor is a wise idea for larger projects. Not only are architectural firms a resource to aide in budgeting, planning, and inspiration, they can provide blueprints/drawings and a material specification list.
Having a complete set of construction documents to provide the contractor ensures you are receiving bids for the same scope of work.
If no construction documents are prepared in advance, each contractor you speak with will be using different materials and methods. These variations can cause drastic differences in pricing. When reviewing the estimates with the contractor be sure to ask why specific materials were selected. It’s not uncommon for an initial estimate to be revised to meet your needs before the contract is prepared. To reduce change orders during the project, iron out all the details and ensure they are documented in the formal contract
Hiring a contractor is a partnership as well as a business transaction. Be sure to keep communication open and honest (on both sides). Proper expectations between a homeowner and the contractor are paramount. If you fail to plan, plan to fail.
Despite how simple things may appear on the DIY television channel or the friendly advice in the aisle of a home improvement store, home remodeling is a complex and dynamic task. Our business is challenging and often painstaking...that’s why we love what we do.
We are here to help you enjoy the comforts of your home and make you love where you live. Client satisfaction is what fuels us. If you would like to learn more about the service we can provide for your home, or simply need some advice, call us! We are happy to answer any question you may have and help in any way we can. 570-650-6372