SOURCE: Handyman Connection

Handyman Connection

June 27, 2011 19:05 ET

10 Must-Do's for Hiring a Reputable Home Improvement Contractor

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwire - Jun 27, 2011) - It's that time of year, when homeowners feel the itch to scratch things off the home improvement to-do list. Handyman Connection, North America's leading network of home repair and remodeling contractors, today released guidelines to help people avoid the pitfalls of finding and hiring a contractor for home improvement projects.

"Hiring a contractor to work around the house means inviting relative strangers into your home for extended periods of time," says Dan Sage of Handyman Connection. "You want to have peace of mind about who you hire."

How do you make sure your handyman is reliable and trustworthy? Follow these tips for hiring the right home improvement contractor:

1. Go with local. Make sure you deal with people who actually live and work in your area. If you're looking online, some websites do a good job of appearing to be local when they're really not. Do your homework and hire local contractors, or national contracting companies with local offices.
2. Get it in writing. Some contractors will give you verbal estimates, or scrawl notes on a paper that doesn't identify who will do the work. Insist on written estimates on company letterhead.
3. Ask for a written guarantee. Like the estimate, the guarantee is something you'll want to get in writing. Do the contractors stand behind their work? If they do, for how long? A good rule of thumb is a guarantee of workmanship quality for a year.
4. Do they insist on cash? Don't buy it. If a contractor only accepts cash payment, keep looking. You want contractors you can trust to do business above-board.
5. Check out contractors' licenses and registrations. Make sure all licensing and registration is valid and up-to-date. If they're not, the contractor is either illegal or just plain sloppy. Not the kind of people you want doing your home improvement projects.
6. See if you're offered a business card. Did the contractor offer you a legitimate business card? If they're the genuine thing, they will. Besides the typical contact information, look for the license number printed on the card.
7. Make sure contractors are insured. Get proof that contractors have third-party injury and property insurance. You just want to make sure that if something happens you're covered.
8. Find out if they're bonded. Reject contractors and related trades people who aren't bonded. Bonding protects you from being held financially or legally responsible for accidents.
9. Look for appropriate memberships. Make sure the contractor is registered with the Better Business Bureau. Also get proof that contractors are members of local Home Builders Associations or Chambers of Commerce.
10. Ask for references. Be concerned if contractors can't provide references from previous customers, there may be a reason.

About Handyman Connection

In 1993, Handyman Connection (www.handymanconnection.com) became the first home improvement and home repairs firm to offer franchises. The company specializes in small to medium home improvements, repairs and remodeling. The Handyman Connection has franchises throughout North America, each locally owned and operated and backed by the company. Company policy dictates that every handyman has at least 10 years of professional experience. Handyman Connection is a subsidiary of TFC, The Franchise Company (www.thefranchisecompany.com), a leader and innovator in franchising and in property management. TFC is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation (NASDAQ: FSRV) (TSX: FSV), a globally diversified leader in real estate services. For more information, see www.firstservice.com.

For more information please visit www.handymanconnection.com or follow us at facebook.com/HandymanConnectionCorporate and twitter.com/handymancorp.