Choosing the right contractor

Choosing the right contractor

As a service provider, I’ve learned that there are varying opinions regarding what exactly is a fair price for work to be performed. Buying a service is very different than buying a commodity item. For example, if you’re buying a watch, you may be able to find the same exact watch at multiple stores. Sure, the service at one store may be better than at another store. In the end, you leave with a watch after just a few minutes of shopping experience. Your name brand watch will perform exactly the same no matter where you buy it, assuming you haven’t bought a knockoff.

When you buy an actual service, such as floor sanding or installation, the service you receive has a much further reaching impact. Firstly, you will have workers in your home. Depending on the work being performed, they will be there anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days or more. We all protect our homes with alarm systems, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. How do you protect your home from your contractor?

For starters, you should look for a contractor who is licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). According to the DCA, “Licensed contractors must undergo a criminal history check, pass an examination on their knowledge of the law and contracts, and contribute $200 to DCA's Trust Fund at the time of application and each time they renew or post a bond. DCA's Trust Fund reimburses homeowners who hired a licensed contractor who subsequently damaged their home and went out of business or left town.”

You know that guy that passed you a flyer outside of the Home Center? Well if he isn’t licensed, he may have been convicted of a felony. Do you really want him in your home? He may also not carry liability insurance or worker’s compensation. Accidents happen. That being said, homeowners can be held liable if a worker is injured on their property unless the employee is covered by workers compensation insurance.

Perhaps you chose wisely and hired a licensed contractor. Sadly, this doesn’t guarantee a fair and professional outcome. You still need a company with a good track record. Is your contractor offering a warranty? Will he offer it in writing upon request? Even so, will he still be in business in the event that you have a legitimate warranty claim? Is he using qualified labor or is he using day labor? Will he be available to answer your questions throughout the renovation? If you have a question down the line, will he be there for you, or will he blow you off since he’s already been paid? Will there be hidden costs during the renovation, or will he honor his price?

The material that’s used for your project can be a determining factor in how long the work will last and how happy you are with the finished product. With all that has been in the news lately, you should be leery of private label or non marked material. If it isn’t certified through the appropriate channels, you may very well end up getting less than you paid for. Uncertified flooring may have unexpected levels of formaldehyde, poor milling which will leave you with gaps in the floor right after installation, or one of many other less than ideal circumstances surrounding it, including the possibility of destruction of protected forests and wildlife.

We've been in business since 1979 and we're fully licensed, bonded and insured with literally tens of thousands of satisfied customers. We can furnish all necessary certificates of insurance and worker’s compensation at your request. We work throughout the NY/NJ metro area. We offer a 7 year warranty on newly sanded and refinished floors against peeling, cracking and chipping under normal residential use. We also guarantee that our installations will be free of defects due to workmanship for one (1) year from the date of purchase. All material used is certified in accordance with the specifications set forth by the National Wood Flooring Association. That certainly sounds like a good start. Factor in this information when deciding what a fair price for your renovation is.