Even before setting out on the search for the best home contractor possible write down exactly what it is you want to be done. Take time to think this through carefully over a period of several days. It is unbelievable how many things come to mind at different times.
Another point of consideration is the type of contractors you will need. A common mistake is to hire a general home contractor to carry out different renovations. You will not go to a cardiologist for a brain tumor, so why hire a plumber to do a painter’s job? Pinpoint the remodeling tasks that need to be performed and target specialists in that field. This will ensure quality work. Once you have settled on exactly what it is that you want to achieve, then you will be ready to start on how to choose a home renovation contractor.
Search for Recommendations
The first step of how to hire a contractor for a remodel is to get recommendations from family or look for neighbors who have had recent upgrades and ask them for their recommendations. People who are closest to you and understand your needs will provide the best recommendations.
Once that source is exhausted, pay a visit to a lumberyard near you or the Home Depot store, they see contractors on a regular basis, and find out which ones buy quality supplies and are good paymasters.
Internet search is one of the best ways of finding a quality home contractor. A search through the GuildQuality website will provide independent, third-party evaluations of people who have used the services of contractors. These reviews give a good idea of the experience other people have had with a contractor you may be considering. The reviews give information regarding workmanship, quality of materials, and labor.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) database of contractors is another online source that can be used. This is a very good place to begin your search on how to find home contractors. They list all the licensed contractors in the United States and provide details regarding complaints against them and rate them. Before finalizing with any contractor, it is a good idea to check their standing on the BBB site.
References are a great help, but they should not be your only check on the contractor you are thinking of hiring. Another great way to check a contractor’s reputation is to Google them. Place their name, company name and add words like “complaints”, “scam” or “court” will provide tons of information. A thorough search on the contractor you plan to hire can save a lot of time and money later in the project.
Interview Potential Hires
Make a list of potential home contractors and related questions you’d like to ask
Make a list of roughly ten contractors you think might be the right fit for you and give each on a call. Write down what to ask a home contractor and go through your list of potential contractors asking the questions in your list. Some possible questions you can ask include the following:
Will they consider a project the size of yours?
Can they provide monetary references from banks or suppliers
How long have their subcontractors been working with them?
How many projects are they working on simultaneously?
Can name some of their previous clients?
Find out the business reputation of a home contractor.
You do not want to end up holding the short end of the stick should the contractor cut and run leaving the work unfinished or having done a really bad job. A small company can easily shut down shop when facing lawsuits, just to reopen elsewhere a few months later. A company that has been in business for years has a reputation to maintain, and chances of them vanishing overnight are slim to none.
Meet the potential contractors for estimates and details.
Cut down your initial list of ten potential contractors to three or four after the telephone interviews. Arrange to meet with them personally for estimates and more detailed discussions regarding the project you have in mind. During this meeting bring out the first list you made of the things you want to be done and get their estimates. Ask each contractor to provide a breakdown of labor costs, materials, and profit margins. Typically materials run around 40%, while profit margins are 15 to 20% with the rest being overhead costs. Since each contractor under consideration will see the exact same to-do list, and the same breakdown requirements, your comparison between contractors will be very realistic.
Discuss deadlines, possible problems and solutions, instructions with a potential home contractor
This would be the time to ask for specific deadlines and how they plan to stay on schedule. Also, discussions regarding penalties in case the deadlines are not met should be clarified at this time. The more open and better-defined everything is at the start, the fewer the chances of problems down the road. Even when the project is in progress, communication, and clear instructions are the key to success.
What to Look for in a Home Contractor
Some basic groundwork and good instincts will help in ending up with a contractor or repute. Before starting work, verify that all the necessary permits and licenses are in order. Insist that your contractor provide these if he does not offer any. Also make certain that he has the necessary insurance is in place, to cover the cost of any worker getting hurt when working on your property.
A contractor’s schedule is a good clue about his abilities. One with too much free time is not necessarily a good thing. It could be that no one is willing to hire him. A reputable contractor is always in demand, so this could mean having to wait. It is always able to complete the job correctly, rather than rush to pass and complete the bad home renovation project to end.
Understand the difference between price and cost. Price is what you pay when you buy something. Cost on the other hand is the financial expense incurred over the life of the service. For instance, one washing machine may cost $450 while another costs $600. The first one is cheaper less but it eats up to $25 more in electricity bills each month. Hence there are no savings in the long run. A contractor that appears to be more expensive upfront may actually be cheaper in the long run. Because the quality of work he does for you is better and may last years longer without needing repairs.
Draw A Contract
Ambiguity is the single largest factor for dissatisfaction with contractors. While you may not be a roofing expert, that does not entitle your contractor not to inform you of the materials he will use. He must inform of the quality of items he will be using, and give options of more budget-friendly alternatives or upgrades should you choose to use them instead.
For larger home renovation projects have a payment schedule. One example would be, begin with ten percent when you sign the contract, then have two or three evenly spaced payments and hold final payment of fifteen percent when the project is fully completed. Define how much of the work is to be completed before each of the evenly spaced payments will be released.
The contract should have details pertaining to the start and end date of the project, exact materials they will use, payment schedule, liability insurance proof, and compensation payments as well as some proof from subcontractors or suppliers that all bills are cleared. This will be your protection in case the contractor hasn’t paid them. The contract has nothing to do with mistrust and everything to do with completing the job in the successful and least controversial way possible.
Finding the best home contractors can be a tough job. There are many excellent, hardworking people who are doing honest jobs while earning a living for themselves and their families. It is also a good idea to check yourself in the process of how to hire a contractor for remodeling. Keep your own expectations in check.
Nobody is perfect and that is why you want a specialist for each field, rather than relying on one person to do everything. Just because you are getting competitive bids from different contractors, the lowest bid is not always necessarily the best one. Make sure you weigh the differences of cost versus price. Understand that there are overhead expenses and a large number of unforeseeable factors which are coming out of your pocket. This is why it is important to take time in planning your project and finding the right contractor whose needs and your match perfectly.