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There are a number of reasons that end-users should hire trained professional contractors. Most of our products are not 'consumer goods' that can be simply plugged in. Contractors may have valuable insight into product selection and placement. Often, specialized skills, tools, and training are necessary to properly complete a job. Improper installation of a product, or any installation that does not comply with the manufacturer's recommendations will void the warranty. Contractors should know about and avoid common pitfalls and installation errors that end-users may not. Finally, a contractor's labor warranty saves you from unexpected costs should a product failure occur shortly after installation.
When choosing a professional contractor to hire, you'll want to evaluate candidates based on a number of factors.
- License: Many states and/or municipalities require licenses for companies or individuals that do certain types of work. If you're not sure, call your local government (often called the Department of Building & Zoning) to ask.
- Insurance: Professional contractors should always carry both General Liability & Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability policies. Common coverage for General Liability is $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate. Common coverage for Workman's Compensation and Employers' Liability is $100,000 per accident and $500,000 aggregate.
- Recommendations & Reviews: If available, trusted opinions from those close to you are a great source of information. If a friend or family member has had a positive experience with a contractor, that's a great start! Other good resources are public reviews on sites like Angie's List, Yelp, or ServiceMagic.com.
- Experience: You might want to consider whether the contractor has experience installing the product you're considering or similar products. If they can provide references or contact information from previous customers, it's a good idea to research further.
- Factory Training or Certification: Sometimes manufacturers offer factory training or certification on products to contractors. If your contractor is trained or certified by the manufacturer, it's a good indicator of knowledge about the product and its installation.
- Price: Labor rates vary greatly by region. Typical rates in larger cities can be $85 - $125 per hour. However, it's not always a great idea to go with the least expensive contractor. Know that the price you pay up-front is not necessarily the price you'll pay over the long run. It's often worth paying a little more for the peace of mind of a professional contractor with a good reputation or strong qualifications.
Last Updated: February 1, 2013
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