It looks like we need to do some foundation work. We have cracks in our basement walls, driveway, and some inside the house walls. How do we get it done right without overspending?
This past summer, we have just had to do the same repair work on the foundation of our home. We saved a ton of money from what a contractor wanted to do the exact job!
First, we asked around and found an operator for the backhoe, and asked the qualified operator how long it would take for him to do the job. Secondly, we called around and found the cheapest and closest rental on the equipment. I should mention that a contractor currently employed the operator, so we had him give us a price for doing the job on his day off. He only charged us $100 for the day. We did most of the work ourselves with the guidance of the operator. A $12,000 job turned into $2200 job with a lot of effort and help from friends.
Considering we didn't budget for foundation work, the savings enabled us to eat for the next few months.
Contact a local real estate agent. They help sellers with similar problems and should know which foundation repair companies are reputable and do good work (with warranties).
Interview contractors until you find one that you are comfortable with and trust. Try CCN (certified contractors network). This is a nationally recognized network of contractors who focus on quality workmanship, as well as reputable business practices. Ask the contractor for references and check them all. If they only give you two or three references, be cautious. Make sure the contractor carries adequate insurance. Find out their dispute resolution practices, and find out what type of warranty is offered, manufacturing as well as workmanship. Make sure any contract that you sign is clear and understandable. If it is not written in the contract, assume that it will not be done.
When faced with a similar dilemma, I "let my fingers do the walking," and checked with the BBB on the ones that sounded promising. Improvenet.com offers a service of matching prospective contractors with folks in the area needing their expertise. You fill out a form, describing what you need, your monetary expectations, and some contact information. Improvenet.com makes this information available to selected contractors in your area. Those who are interested will let Improvenet.com know, and you are provided a listing from which to select. They have pretty much done all of the pre-screening for you. The contractors must have up-to-date insurance, be able to provide references, etc. I found that it saved us a lot of time and aggravation. I found their service invaluable and would definitely recommend them!
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