In most cases, professional home improvement contractors – the kind that offer service after the sale and guaranty their workmanship – are the safest bet for major home improvement projects. After all, larger home improvement projects with big price tags like window replacement, kitchen or bath remodels carry a lot of risk if done wrong.
It’s not the only avenue though. When it comes to home improvement projects, homeowners basically have three choices.
1. Make a plan, buy the materials and tools, and do the job yourself.
2. Go to your local home improvement retailer, pick out and purchase what you want and use the subcontractor recommended by the store.
3. Hire a professional home improvement contractor who will supply both the materials and full-time, permanent employees to complete the installation.
A competent do-it-yourselfer can save money on labor by doing the work themselves. “Competent” is the key word there. Most people don’t want to hire themselves because it gets pretty awkward around the house when you (or your spouse) have to fire yourself.
So, if you aren’t a Handy Andy or Angie, that leaves either using a subcontractor recommended by a retailer or using an established home improvement contractor with full time installation crews on the payroll.
For small, straightforward jobs like laying down a new floor or installing light fixtures, using a subcontractor recommended by the store may make sense.
Risks of Hiring Retail Store Sub-Contractors
What are the risks of using subcontractors on major home improvement projects? It comes down to accountability if something goes wrong and knowing who will be in your home. For instance, imagine paying top dollar for new windows (bathroom fixtures or whatever the case may be) with a full warranty on the product, only to find later that your expensive warranty is void because the product was installed wrong. It happens all too often and it can plunge a homeowner into a world of red tape and frustration, taking months or even years to resolve.
How can this happen if you have a warranty? When you buy your materials from a retailer who hires subcontractors to complete the job, you are paying the retailer to pay someone else to come into your home and do the work. Depending on the job, the subcontractor may even hire another subcontractor (or several) to do portion of the job, with or without your knowledge.
Who is responsible for making it right if installer didn’t follow the rules laid out in the warranty? Probably not the installer – he didn’t sell the product or guaranty the warranty. Not the Big Box store – they aren’t in the installation business, they just sell the product. Not the manufacturer that offered the warranty – they covered their assets when they wrote the warranty with installation conditions.
If something goes wrong, the homeowner will be doing the footwork. You may be able to get some satisfaction by working with the store or the installer, making complaints, leaving bad reviews, and maybe even hiring a lawyer, but who wants to go through that hassle?
Benefits of Working with a Full Service Home Improvement Contractor
Working with an established remodeling business reduces your risks because most reputable home improvement contractors offer both a workmanship warranty as well as manufacturer’s warranties.
The reputable ones will also provide:
Workman’s Comp and Insurance Certification – This protects you from liability for injury or property damage in the event of an accident on your property.
Liability Insurance Certification – Proof of insurance in case of damage to your property
Lien Waivers – Protection in case the contractor fails to pay for materials or labor
Building Permits – A professional contractor will secure building permits, accepting responsibility for ensuring all work is done according to city code and local ordinances. If you pull the permit yourself, you are the one liable if the project is not completed to code.
Background Checks – Do you know if the subcontractor has run background checks on the crew that will have access to your home and valuables? If you can’t verify this information you may be putting your home and family at risk.
Right of Rescission – The right to cancel your order and get your deposit back within three days entering into the contract.
Home Town Restyling is a full-service home improvement contractor offering everything from kitchens to windows to room additions and more along with licensed and insured crews for professional installation. We also back up everything we do with lifetime warranty. Visit our showroom today or download our FREE Window Replacement Checklist and start planning like a pro.