Most people are interested in saving money in these difficult economic times, and after the holiday season many businesses are having big sales.  But if your bargain hunting involves and exterior remodeling project for like roofing, siding, or replacement windows and doors for your St. Paul/Minneapolis area home, you need to do a little investigating to make sure that the deal you think you're getting doesn't end up to be a costly nightmare.  For over 27 years, the exterior home improvement pros at Quarve Contracting have been helping Twin Cities area homeowners save money with energy-efficient, low- and no-maintenance building products.  We've learned that the bottom line on the estimate isn't the only thing you should look at when hiring a contractor.  Here are some other things to consider:
  • Is the estimate verbal?  Always get it in writing.  And if you have any questions before signing the proposal, now is the time to ask them. 
  • Is the contractor licensed and insured?  Ask for verification.  Reputable contractors will be happy to provide proof of insurance as well as their Minnesota building contractor's license. 
  • If you have an older home, does the contractor have an EPA lead-safe certificate?  For homes built before 1978, this certification is required for many types of home repair and remodeling. 
  • Will the contractor give you a list of references?  If not, this could be a warning sign.  And if you get references, be sure to follow up on them to make sure they are legitimate.  If a customer has agreed to be a reference for a contractor, he or she won't have any problems telling you how their project went.  Be sure to ask about problems, call-back issues, etc. 
  • Is the contractor a member of any oganizations such as the Better Business Bureau or your local Chamber of Commerce?  Even if they aren't, you can inquire to see whether they have had any complaints filed. 
  • Does the contract specify brands and/or specific types of materials to be used?  Make sure you're getting what you pay for, not a cheap substitution. 
  • Ask about both manufacturer and contractor warranties.  Is labor covered as well as materials?   If you have problems after your project is done, you may need to hire someone else to fix them if your "bargain" contractor won't return your calls. 
You've made a substantial investment in your home.  If you're looking to increase its value, replace deteriorated components, or add to its energy efficiency, make sure you're getting a good deal in the process.  Often home improvement "bargains" can prove to be costly in the long run.  If you're unsure, get a second (or third) estimate.  Most reputable companies like Quarve don't charge for estimates.  And if saving money is your ultimate goal, contact Quarve Contracting today.  We're fully license and insured.  And we've got a variety of options to suggest that can really help.