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 The most important aspect to consider before hiring a contractor and the one which is mostly overlooked is speaking to the references which he provides during the preliminary discussions. The reason for taking such a decision should precede everything else, including rates, timelines, etc. You must remember that a contractor is a person, who will be having access to the entire home, including your family while doing their job. These jobs require the assistance of many men and before you know it, your home might be full of strangers who are walking round unobstructed all over your home. Security, credentials etc are then your primary concerns before you taken a single step with the prospective contractor. Even if you have got the name of the person or company through internet or the Yellow Pages, you must check his background and references first. But one of the reasons why most people shy away from asking references about the credentials is that most of the time they do not know what and how to ask the reference. If you can master this art, you could even get to the better side of one of the references and get yourself invited to see the work the contractors has done for the. If they are very happy with the job a contractor has done, they are more likely to invite others to visit their home. So the areas where you need to inquire regarding a contractor are:

- The type of job which the contractor has done.

- Whether this was the first time this person hired the services of this contractor.

- What was the satisfaction level

- How is the contractor in terms of communication? Does he understand the brief well and does he ask questions to clarify anything which he has not understood?

- Do they regularly clean the debris in the home or leave premises full of contractor’s materials and trash?

- Did the contractor finish the assignment on time?

- If there was any dissatisfaction over a job done, did the contractor take care to attend to this problem?

- Does the contractor work with his own team or sub-contract the job to someone else?

- Do they communicate at the proper time if they are turning up late or missing a day?

These are a set of sample questions which need to be asked to a reference before hiring a contractor. Of course there could be several others which crop up in your mind – but make sure that the references fall in line before you allow any stranger into the house. There are several precautionary steps you ought to take. For instance do not sign any contract with the designated contractor unless you are completely thorough with the contents. In case of doubt, it is better to ask an expert for his advice rather than signing some thing blindly. Then, never give the whole agreed amount as deposit before he delivers the job. You could agree to phase out payment – on a weekly basis, and see the development of work in progress. Giving away the full money would be disastrous.

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