Tips for Choosing a Home Contractor
Remodeling contractors provide valuable services that can make your property more valuable, safer, more energy efficient and more functional. A good remodeling contractor is worth his or her weight in gold. However, not every remodeling contractor is reliable, trustworthy or a good business person. In fact, many remodeling contractors juggle jobs and money like chips in a poker game.
This makes it imperative that you protect your investment by choosing the best, most professional remodeling contractor. The worst thing you can do is rush to hire your remodeler at the expense of due diligence. Apply good business practices to your selection process. The way to end up with the craftsmanship you deserve is to understand the criteria that protects your selection and ensures you the best possible candidate.
Identifying your Specifications
Informed consumers know the specifications of the job they put out to bid. You can better understand your project specs by working with an architect or a reliable contract consultant. This step will allow you to understand the project from the contractor’s perspective. Everyone wants quality workmanship but receiving quality at reasonable prices begins with knowing your specifications and understanding where costs might be trimmed if you are over budget. Only a building professional knows best practices and costs.
Putting your project out to bid is your next step in procuring the right remodeling contractor. Be sure to reach out to known and unknown contractors. Don’t be surprised if some back out immediately. They may have enough work or not be interested in your project. In any case, you want a minimum of three qualified contractors from which you will select the winning bidder.
Get Those Referrals
Many contractors know what you want to see and carry their portfolios with them. Study their earlier projects. Talk about the location and the challenges each job provided. Most importantly, get names and addresses of clients and ask for permission to contact all references. Never hire a contractor who does not offer reachable and verifiable references. Then, set aside the time to speak to every reference and don your own references checking. Contact the local Chamber and Better Business Bureau. This is your property and your investment Don’t cut corners.
Does the Contractor Have Credentials
Good remodeling contractors are proud of their continuing education and training. Inquire about their credentials. You will feel better with proven experts who have taken and completed courses or belong to trade organizations. This can be the difference maker. It is important to know the contractor’s reputation in the community as well as their credentials. It is god practice to hire contractors who have a presence in the community.
Once you have narrowed the selection to several reputable contractors, arrange a meeting for the purpose of interviewing each candidate. Ask questions about their subcontractors and suppliers. Where will they acquire supplies? How will supplies be delivered? Will they leave the job broom clean at the end of each day? What are their safety guidelines? What challenges do they see with your job? Be sure to ask each contractor the same questions. If you do not understand their responses, ask again. Always ask for a sample contract and inquire about their insurances. Ask for proof of insurance. If they cannot provide it, find another contractor who can.
Review the Contract
For large projects you may want to have an attorney review the contract and the insurance certificates. It is your money, your project and your investment. You cannot be too careful. Any contractor that objects to your due diligence, is unprofessional. Make sure you understand the terms and that all agreements are contained in the contract.
Follow these steps to ensure a great end-product and a hassle-free remodeling experience.