How to choose a contractor

Starting a home renovation should be an exciting time. Unfortunately, for most homeowners they find it stressful and even a bit intimidating. The task of finding a contractor to help with your project can bring about these feelings. You know what you would like to have done. You are just not sure who to call? How many estimates should you get? Where to even begin? Here is a list that will guide you through the things you should look for when choosing a contractor.

Step 1 How to choose a contractor is through word of mouth.

One of the best places to get information on local contractors this through word of mouth. Try asking around to your family, friends or people that you know. Those closest to you will provide you with the most trustworthy information on contractors that they may know or that they have used before. If you don’t have anyone who can give you a recommendation check with local flooring, or cabinets shops. These types of building supply stores work with many different contractors and can provide you with some recommendations.

Step 2 How to choose a contractor makes sure you know what you want.

When preparing to choose a contractor to make sure you know what you are wanting to be done.  Have an idea of what you would like your contractor to do. If you are not sure try looking for ideas on Pinterest, Houzz, or as my son always says just google it. Sometimes pictures can help you convey an idea that is hard to describe. Your contractor may choose to make some suggestions be open to listening to ideas. Contractors know that some things sound good in theory but don’t always work.  They may have an idea to make something work better.

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Step 3 How to choose a contractor is meet in person.

By meeting with a local contractor you can get to know them and see what they are like. This is a great time to discuss the scope of the project. Explain what you would like help with and get confirmation that they are able to accomplish what you desire.

Step 4 How to choose a contractor is by asking for a written estimate.

While meeting with a contractor ask for a written estimate. By getting an estimate in writing you are more aware of what your charges are for. Breakdowns of estimates are even better as you can then compare them to other estimates that you get from other contractors.

Step 5 How to choose a contractor gets at least three estimates.

Get at least three estimates of your work to be done. Again make sure that each of these estimates is in writing. Three estimates will give you enough information that you can compare each estimate against the other. This will help you to make sure that you are getting the best possible price with the best quality.

Step 6 How to choose a contractor is seeing his work.

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It is always a good idea to ask a contractor to see his work. Any contractor should be proud to show off their good workmanship. During this viewing, you can ask the previous customer how was their experience with the contractor. This will assure that they contractor does good professional workmanship.

Step 7 How to choose a contractor is to check for license, complaints, and litigations.

Even though you have viewed contractors work it is a good idea to verify a license, check for complaints and litigations. Odds are that if a contractor directs you to a previous customer he will send you to one that he knows was well satisfied with his services. This is why it is still important to check websites for reviews, complaints, or litigations. This will give you an idea of any customers that were not satisfied and let you know what the problem was.

Step 8 How to choose a contractor makes sure you have a written contract.

Once you have decided upon a contractor make sure you have a written contract before the work is to be done.  This written contract should contain the contractor’s information such as his address and contact numbers. Make sure that there is a breakdown of charges and a written understanding of what is to be done. There should be an expected time of completion of the project.

Step 9 How to choose a contractor is expecting busyness.

I have found through my many years of dealing with contractors that the ones who are best at what they do are always busy. If a contractor is busy and can’t get your work immediately be patient. This usually means they are in high demand. The best contractors will always have work and will usually take a while to get to your job. If you find a contractor that can come immediately, run the other way. A contractor who can come quickly is a great indicator that they are not busy for reasons of problems or complaints.

Step 10 How to choose a contractor is by talking frequently.

Once your project has begun talk frequently with your contractor. Staying up to date on progress will ensure that things are being done the way you are expecting. This will also help you to not be surprised with there are unexpected delays. As well if something unexpected does occur you will be present to make decisions if something needs to be changed.  This will ensure that decisions are not made without you being aware.

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Step 11 how to choose a contractor don’t pay 100% till the job is done.

Contractors may ask you to pay a deposit or even give partial payment to get your job started. This is a good way to show you are committed to getting the job done and are not backing out. Sometimes paying for material upfront may be required. Do not pay for the job 100% until the job is completed and the work is all satisfactory. Labor can be withheld to ensure that a job in completed correctly and in a timely manner.

Step 12 How to choose a contractor to make sure that you do a final walk through upon completion.

When your job is completed do a final walk through upon completion. This is a good time to make sure that everything is done to your satisfaction. It is much easier to get a contractor to fix a problem while he is still on the job than it is to call them back out.

Home improvement can be a good experience but it will require a bit of homework on your part. Just remember that your project can begin to grow with the famous words “While you are here.” Anything that gets added to the scope of the contract will begin to add up with additional costs. The more you prepare yourself for your project then the more you will be prepared for things when they happen.

 

XO

Christy