Everyone who decides to do any kind of works on their home knows how stressful they can be. Luckily, choosing a good contractor can save you a lot of headache in the long run. However, choosing a contractor is in itself not an easy feat. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice.
1. Make a list based on recommendations
The first thing you need to do is ask around. Chances are that you know people who were in a similar situation recently, so their experience may be helpful. Do online research or talk with a building inspector if you can. After you’ve done that, you should end up with a list of possible contractors. Don’t worry if it’s a bit long, because the next step will take care of that.
2. Narrow it down
Start with phone interviews. Just a quick call is enough if you ask a few of the right questions. You should find out several things: if they’re accepting projects of your size, if they can provide a list of references from previous clients, and how many projects would they be working on at the same time. Make a new list of those who gave satisfactory answers to those questions, and start face-to-face interviews. The person you choose needs to be able to put you at ease, but don’t trust them just because they’re charming. Check the records in your state’s consumer protection agency to make sure the company doesn’t often have problems with clients or subcontractors before you hire them.
Now that you have the list narrowed down to one or two companies, investigate. Call some of the former clients and ask about how the works went, and if they had any issues with the contractors. Visit some of their current clients to see how the workers are handling the job and the personal property of the client. Some companies, such as Leadwork, allow their clients to post their experiences on the company’s website, which is always very useful and can save you a bit of time.
4. Get Bids
At this point, you have a very short list of one to three reliable companies with a clean record, and now is the time to think about the project itself. Provide all the necessary information about your project, including the planned budget and the period of time in which you think it should be done. Give the info to the contractor, and ask them for an estimate of time and costs. Ask them to break down the costs of everything, and keep in mind that the price of material should be about 40% of the total price.
5. Make a choice
Now you have enough to go on and make an educated choice. Still, you’ll want to be careful – don’t let the price your only guide. The far more important factor is the quality of communication and trust between you and the contractor. Always bear in mind that those people will be spending a considerable amount of time in your home over a not-so-short period. Is saving a few dollars worth letting a strange person into your home?
6. Put everything on paper
Finally, when you have made your choice, draw a contract. Include every little detail: payment, dates, materials, and so on. Every little thing you agree on needs to be in writing. Make sure the contract is very clear and precise, and ask an attorney to check it. It’s not about mistrust, it’s simply about protecting the interests of everyone involved in the project.
Follow these pieces of advice, and you’ll find a perfect contractor for your renovation works. You’ll be able to relax, and in no time, you’ll get to enjoy your new place.