If you are planning to remodel your home, you need to hire a contractor. But how do you know what contractor to hire? Below are eight tips that you can use to help you find the right contractor for you.
Get Some Recommendations
The first place that you want to start is with people that you know. The reason for this is because you know that they aren’t going to give you bad advice. You can also check with the NARI too to see what members are in your general area. It’s also a good idea to speak with someone who is a professional building inspector. They’re going to know which of the contractors who are meeting building code requirements regularly. You also can go to the lumberyard since they regularly see contractors and they know which of the contractors are buying the quality materials as well as are up to date on their bills.
Conduct Interviews Over the Phone
After you have put together your list, it’s a good idea to call each of the prospects. When you talk to them, ask the following questions:
- Will they give you financial references, either from banks or suppliers?
- Will they give you names and numbers of their previous clients?
- Is your project size one that they do?
- What other projects are they currently working on?
- What’s the length of time that they’ve worked with the subcontractors?`
When they answer these questions, they’re going to reveal the reliability, the amount of attention that they’re going to give to your project, their reliability, and just how smoothly the work’s going to go.
Meet with Them in Person
Based on how your interviews go, choose 3-4 contractors that you want to meet in person to get estimates as well as talk with them further. You should get satisfactory answers to the questions, and they should put your mind at ease. You need to have good communication with the person because they’re going to be working in your house for hours per day. But you also don’t want the person’s personality to fool you. Check with the local BBB and the consumer protection agency in your state before hiring the contractor. This way you can be sure that there isn’t a lot of disputes between them and subcontractors or clients.
Investigate All of the Facts
Once you have a short list of people that you are interested in working with, now you want to research. Call up the former clients and find out how the projects they had done went. You also want to ask if you’re able to see their finished products. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t just go on the results that you see. It’s important also to view how the way that the contractor is working. Is the site safe and neat? Are their workers careful with the property of the homeowner and courteous?
Make Some Plans and Get Bids
Now you have the short list of those contractors with track records appear to be clean and with responsible looking work ethics. Now you want to quit looking at their past work and begin looking forward to your project. A contractor who is conscientious won’t just want blueprint set, but they’ll also want to have an idea of what you want from the project as well as what you’re planning to spend. To compare the bids, ask contractors if they’ll break down the material cost, the labor cost, their profit margins as well as any other types of expenses. Generally, the material costs will be around 40% of your total cost. The rest is going to cover profit margins, which is around 15-20% and their labor.
Set up Your Payment Schedule
Something else you should do when you’re hiring your contractor is to work out the payment schedule before the work starts. A payment schedule is going to speak to the work ethic and financial status of the contractor. If they require 50% of their bid right away, it’s possible they have some financial issues, or they might be concerned that you’re not going to pay after the work’s done. When the project is large, the schedule often will begin with 10% down when the contract is signed, three more payments of 25% that are spaced evenly during the project’s duration, and the last 15% once the project is done to your satisfaction.
Don’t Just Consider the Price
The first thing that you should do is throw out the lowest bid. The contractor with the lowest bid usually is either desperate for some work or cutting corners. This isn’t a good sign when the economy is good. Beyond their competence, the thing that you should think about when you are hiring the contractor is whether or not you feel comfortable working with them. But perhaps the biggest thing to consider is how well the two of you communicate if everything else is equal. You want to spend a bit more money and get a contractor who you can communicate with and who you’re comfortable with than spending less and worrying.
Get Everything in Writing
If there’s something that court shows have taught us is that everything needs to be put in writing. You should create a contract that is going to detail the project’s every step. The proof of worker’s compensation and liability insurance payments, a date for starting and finishing the project, the payment schedule, the specific products and materials that will be used, and the requirement that your contractor is obtaining lien releases (this will give you protection if he’s not paying his bills) from all of his suppliers and subcontractors. Being insistent on this clear contract’s not about not trusting the contractor. It’s about ensuring that your renovation is successful.
The final thing that you want to remember is that when there’s a problem or you make a change; it’s’ going to cost more and take longer to complete the work. Try not to use the words “While you are at it.” You are going to regret it.
These are the tips that you can use to help you find the contractor. Taking the time to find the right contractor can help save you a lot of problems.