By Dermound Becker
Special to Relocation.com
When it comes to hiring a contractor  to do work in your home, you need to take your time in choosing just the right one for you. A contractor is going to have people spending time in your home, so they need to be trustworthy and professional. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right contractor for you.
• Get as many bids/quotes as you can. Not only are you looking for a good price, but the more quotes you get, the better idea you have as to what the going rate in your area is for the work you want done. Remember, though, that the cheapest quote may not prove to be the best contractor for the job. Ask if the quote is a hard quote (the actual price that you will be charged) or just an estimate.
• Ask for references and then, actually call the people. Find out if the job was completed entirely to the customer’s satisfaction. Was the work completed on time? Was the work site kept clean and safe? How close was the final bill to the estimate that was provided? And would they consider hiring this company again.
• Is the contractor fully insured, licensed and bonded? Are ALL of his employees insured as well? The employees should be covered by workman’s comp and liability insurance . Also ask if the contractor is a member of any trade associations.
• Check online for litigation history for the company. If they have been sued a number of times, this would be a definite red flag. You should also call the Better Business Bureau . They can provide you with a lot of useful information as to the company and its business history in the area.
• Find out how long the contractor has been in business. As a general rule of thumb, a contractor that has been in business for at least five years is probably reliable. It is difficult to stay in business that long if they are doing shoddy work.
• Ask if the price covers everything, such as permits, materials or blueprints . You should know the actual cost before you start working with a contractor.
• Make sure you choose a contractor that you are comfortable communicating with. Does he or she really listen to you? Are they taking what you want done seriously? After all, this is your job, your home and you should have the final say in decisions. The contractor should have ideas to present to you, but you make the final decision.
• Is the contractor going to be easy for you to reach if you need to? They should respond to your messages the same day.
You should realize that problems can arise. Weather, material problems, any number of reasonable problems can pop up and slow the course of your home improvement  project. The contractor should communicate fully with you about these. But make sure that it clearly states in the contract before you sign it what will happen if there is a dispute. Mediation is a lot less costly than having to go to court.
Choose wisely and your home improvement project  should go through without a hitch.