Friday, October 14, 2016

Why Licensing Matters and How to Find the Best Contractor

What is your profession? What area of expertise have you invested time, finances, and great effort to become the best you can be? Was your incentive to be able to serve others to the best of your ability?

There are professions where you can find people of such raw talent, they do not need training or education. A few examples would be artists, writer's, and some craftsman whose natural ability is extraordinary. Yet, even geniuses in these arts seek education to sharpen the gift within them. It is human nature to want to be the best we can be in our field of expertise and profession.

Would you pay an untrained person to cut and color your hair? Would you purposely go to a medical or dental professional you knew had not completed their education? Probably not! However, many homeowners looking for the "best/cheapest" price for a home improvement project will risk the value of the biggest financial investment in their portfolio. Please do not make that big mistake. Unlicensed and untrained contractors do operate in virtually every nook and cranny of America.

Right here is NH licensing is not required. Are you asking why I named this Post "Why Licensing Matters?" Well, there are ways to protect yourself and find the best contractor, even if  NH does not
require they get licensed.  Since New Hampshire does not require a Contractor to be State Licensed, it is up to you to use wisdom, research, and choose the best for your particular project. The industry's low barrier to entry and ability to secure work happens due to a general unwillingness or inability of municipal and State authorities to vigorously create and enforce regulations. "How can this be?", you ask. Maybe it has something to do with our State motto, "Live free of die".  Actually, it boils down to the lack of organization and staffing to create the standards to meet and verify any applicant's financial records, insurance, experience, and background that needs to be policed and administered by contractor boards, business and regulatory agencies, consumer affair departments, or attorneys,depending on the location. Bottom line it is a problem that can create a nightmare for homeowners.

Remodeling takes expertise, experience, and the ability to listen carefully to your clients ideas. It also takes great intelligence combined with creativity. Designers and Builders must possess an unusual balance of mental capacity as well as emotional intelligence to understand what their clients really dream of.  They must be accurate with math, which is right brain activity. They also must be creative which uses their left brain. Only 6 % of the population has that combination of skills.

I am so happy to tell you that Lenny and Lisa , the owners of Apple Wood Construction and Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath function excellently in these attributes. There is literally nothing Lenny cannot build. His reputation is spotless and well known among the building inspectors and
the town office that distributes Building Permits.

 Inexperienced carpenters may promise what they cannot deliver to win your business. There are so many expensive mistakes made by homeowners who only consider the price. Every ethical and professional remodeling contractor has the personal experience of being contacted by a homeowner needing to be rescued from the mistakes of a less than ethical "contractor' who abandoned their job with their money in hand! That makes the entire industry suspect. However, if you do your due diligence, ask for referrals and take time to interview a few Pros, you will avoid being taken advantage of.

Where do you begin? In your family and social circle you are going to become aware of projects completed in homes you are invited to visit. If you are thinking about remodeling in the future, be sure to capture the opportunity to ask what your host liked or did not like about who they awarded their project to. Listen and take notes if possible. Your friends and family will love to talk about their project and welcome your curiosity and questions. In fact, they will probably be flattered and excited you want to know.

One of the key issues about remodeling "value" is finding who you like and communicate easily with. You will most likely be interacting with this person and their crew for months. Select the one who really listens to your ideas and preferences. Ask them what they think about your goals. Ask them if what you want is possible, and what the positives and negatives are. Listen to their explanations and jot them down as notes to refer to while interviewing the next candidate.

Another good question to ask anyone you are considering is , How do you stay on top of new trends and products? Do you continue your education and learning new developments in your field? This question is particularly important if you are interested in contemporary design or need special functionality in a commercial application. In every industry, learning new ways and about new products is good. Especially now with Green Building being emphasized. Green means environmentally friendly using less energy to live. If you get a push back like, "Oh no, this is the way I have been doing this for 20 years", you may want to consider asking for referrals then contacting them to ask for their opinion. Another great positive sign is any tradesman who is active in local Builder's Associations. These professionals tend to be interested in learning from each other, being educated as they seek continued training in their field. Plus, great relationships are forged in these associations. The experts from all the fields get to know each other, often refer one another and create a very cohesive team to get jobs done more quickly and efficiently. The camaraderie adds to each tradesman and the mutual respect built tends to add to each contractors commitment to excellence.    

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