Before hiring contractors, figure out budget for any home projects


You may be looking at home projects for the coming year. Maybe you want to add a patio or deck, make over your kitchen or renovate a spare bedroom as a home office.

Some people are comfortable tackling the jobs themselves, but many homeowners hire contractors to do most or all of the work. Finding trustworthy contractors can be difficult, but Better Business Bureau is here to help.

Before hiring anyone, you must figure out how much you’re willing to spend and what you want the project to look like. Visiting showrooms or looking at magazines and websites for ideas is a great way to get started. If you have friends or acquaintances who have completed similar projects, ask to see the work they had done and discuss what they learned, what they liked and what they would avoid.

Deciding on a budget is crucial. Can you afford to pay for the work out of pocket, or do you need to borrow money? If you’re financing the project, can you afford the payments in addition to your regular expenses?

Ask friends for recommendations on contractors. Do your homework as well.

BBB Business Profiles are available on more than 5.3 million companies nationwide, including local remodelers, painters, plumbers and general contractors. The profiles include ratings from A+ to F that are based on several factors, including how long a company has been in business and how it has responded to customer complaints. Consumers can read about complaints against a business and how the company resolved them. They also include contact information for companies.

BBB Customer Reviews let potential customers see how a company satisfied its customers. 

Interview several contractors before settling on one. Ask for a list of references on work they’ve done, then contact those customers. Find out whether the contractor has any required licenses and insurance. Be sure the contractor will get a permit for the work if it’s required. 

BBB recommends getting at least three bids on a project before choosing a contractor. Make sure to get a written contract that specifies materials that will be used, a timeline for completing the work, warranty information and any conditions that are important to you, such as cleaning up debris. Make sure the contractor will provide a lien waiver, a statement that all suppliers and contractors have been paid for materials and labor.

Don’t pay for the entire job up front. Instead, consider paying a third to secure the contract, a third when the project is mostly completed and the final third only after the work is completed and you are satisfied.  

Go to for more information or to check out a business.

Don O’Brien is the regional director for the Quincy Better Business Bureau. Contact him at or (217) 209-3972.

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