How to Choose a Contractor
This step-by-step guide will prepare you for your next home improvement project.
1. Define Your Project Before Getting Quotes
When choosing a contractor, you should think about what you are wanting before you start looking for someone to complete your home improvement project, in as much detail as possible. Knowing the style, materials, and details about your project will allow you to budget for the costs of these features. If you are unsure of what you are wanting, you can enlist the help of an architect or designer to make suggestions that will achieve your desired results. Although you may want to avoid major upsales, they can be beneficial and can help attain the look you yearn for in your project. Having a solid plan in place will make it easier to get quotes on the project from multiple contractors. Make sure to have a clearly defined plan in mind before beginning your search.
2. Think About the Type of Contractor You Want to Hire
Once you decide what your project is going to be, you need to decide what kind of contractor you will need to complete it. General contractors oversee large home construction or remodeling projects. They will usually hire subcontractors for specific things like plumbing or electrical, depending on what the project requires. A Design/Build contractor is someone with a dedicated team that specializes in their particular style, and sometimes they will have showrooms with design options like finishes, wood types, and more to give you a better idea of what your end product might look like.
3. Ask Your Friends and Family for Reputable References
The best way to find a contractor is to ask your friends, family, and neighbors for references. This will give you a chance to speak with people who have experience with a particular contractor, and they can answer your questions about the process, what made the experience positive, and if they would use the contractor again. This may also give you an opportunity to see some of the contractor’s work in person. Getting reputable references from trusted people is a great way to find a contractor to tackle the job.
4. Do Your Own Research and Explore Their Work/Online Portfolio
Along with asking for references, another great way to find a contractor is to do your own research. View their website and social media pages to find photos of their gallery and online reviews. This will give you realistic examples of their work, and should provide you with a strong idea of what you can expect if you hire them.
5. Interview Them, Trust Your Gut, & Make Sure They Are a Good Fit
When picking a contractor it is very important to interview them so that you get to know them and can clearly explain what you are looking for. Seeing as the contractor will be in your home for extended periods of time, it is crucial that you get along with them. Trust your gut during this process – don’t hire anyone you wouldn’t want in your home all day.
6. Check Their Credentials to Make Sure They Are Properly Licensed
It is important to make sure whoever you hire is properly licensed for the job and has the proper credentials. Do not be afraid to ask the contractor questions about their qualifications, certifications, and licenses before the project starts.
7. Get Everything in Writing So That There Are No Surprises During the Project
Make sure that as you are finalizing your projects details, agreed upon requirements, timeline, and cost, that you get everything in writing before you begin the project. This will make sure that you are getting exactly what is in your contract without extra costs or surprises. Without a detailed contract, it is easy to get upsold on features and extra work that you might not have originally wanted or accounted for.