One of the hardest parts of starting a home renovation project is finding a contractor. You want one that’s reliable, competent, and won’t break the bank. So, what can you do to make this process easier? Read our guide and do the necessary research before starting.
Step one is to have a plan before you contact a contractor. Know what you want and have some ideas, so you get a more accurate quote on the time and cost of your project. Unfortunately, unforeseen problems can still arise but planning lessons the chance.
Have you ever applied for a job? Of course you have, and what do they ask for along with a resume and cover letter? References! You should also ask for references from a contractor. Every good contractor has previous clients you can talk to that love their finished project. Be sure to ask if the estimate was close to the final cost. Also, talk to subcontractors hired by the contractor to determine if they are paid on time and in full.
Do you know someone that has had a similar project completed? Ask who they used. You can usually ask local hardware stores for referrals, too. Read online reviews before contacting any contractor. Most contractors will have at least a Google presence, but you can also look at the BBB or websites like Angie’s List.
Contact at least three contractors but ideally, the more the better. Have detailed conversations about their capabilities, costs, expectations, and materials. Don’t use a contractor who won’t or can’t go into specifics about they’ll need to do for your project. They should want you to make an informed decision that you won’t regret. The contractor is also scoping you out, will they be able to do your project in the timespan you expect and in your budget?
Research a potential contractor, do they have any complaints, or have they ever been taken to trial? Be sure to check their licenses and the copies of licenses of any subcontractors involved in the project.
So, you’ve found a contractor you believe is perfect for your project and has raving reviews, what else should you do? While you project is ongoing there are a few things you can do to protect yourself even further.
Set up a payment schedule so that tasks are completed in a timely manner. Ask your contractor for a copy of all receipts, for materials and lien receipts. Subcontractors can put a mechanic’s lien on your home if the contractor does not pay them so it’s best to cover all your bases. Continually talk with your contractor, you want to know what’s going on with your project and most likely they’ll want to give you updates. Lastly, you will need permits for any work done but the contract, not the homeowner, should obtain those permits.
After your project is completed, let others know about the great job your contractor did! Just like you, many of their potential clients rely on reviews and word of mouth to pick a contractor. You can share photos, reviews, and ratings of your contractor on Google, the BBB, and more. If you want to go an extra step, let the contractor know you’re willing to be a reference for other potential clients to contact.