"Finding a competent and honest contractor is one of the hardest parts of remodeling your home."
Finding a competent and honest contractor is one of the hardest parts of remodeling your home. As a homeowner, you probably know that many unreliable contractors are out there. But you will never know how hard it is to find a good contractor until you start looking for one.
Every contractor you speak to before you start your home renovation project will tell you how good of a contractor they are. But a short while after you hire them, you may realize they are no good. Maybe the contractor doesn’t show up when they say they will or don’t answer their phone.
"If you hire the wrong contractor for your remodeling project, you could spend years trying to reverse the impact of that single wrong decision."
Even worse, that contractor may use substandard materials on your house. If you hire the wrong contractor for your remodeling project, you could spend years trying to reverse the impact of that single wrong decision. (Will Your New Home Be Fit To Live In) That is why before hiring a contractor, you want to ensure they are the right fit for the project.
How do you identify a great contractor from a bad contractor? Is there a system for filtering contractors to identify the bad ones before hiring them? What are the things to pay attention to when looking for a contractor to oversee your remodeling project? This post will answer those questions.
Tips for finding a great contractor for your home remodeling project
1. Build your contractor list
The larger the number of potential contractors you speak to before you start the project, the greater the possibility of finding a good one. Talking to many contractors helps you gain perspective. Each contractor will behave differently; their words and actions become the basis for comparing one contractor against the other. How do you find contractors for your list?
"Talking to many contractors helps you gain perspective."
2. Deploy the power of your network
The best way to populate your contractor list is to explore your connections. As a homeowner, you probably know other homeowners; talk to your neighbors and friends. Ask your handyman and the local real estate agent. Visit the hardware store and ask if they can recommend someone. Using your network makes it easier to find active contractors for your home building project in your locality
3. Prescreening the contractors
Your opinion of a contractor starts to form the minute you speak to them on the phone or by the way they answer your email. When screening contractors, every little detail matters. If you find something you don’t like during those early interactions – maybe they are late or don’t like being asked many questions – you may be sure there will be more.
4. Experience and qualifications
"A good contractor will ask questions to understand your goals for the project and be happy to offer advice."
The right contractor has experience working on similar projects or homes as yours. They should have operated in the city for a few years. They should show you their state contractor’s license.
A good contractor will often have good standing with the local chapter of their professional body. They will ask questions to understand your goals for the project and be happy to offer advice.
5. Check online reviews
If your first meeting with a contractor goes well, you can go ahead with this next step; Google them. Enter the contractor’s name and city, along with words like scam or rip-off, into the search bar to see what comes up.
Check what others say about the contractor on services like Yelp and Google Business. Look for bad reviews and check how the contractor responds to them.
"A reliable contractor should list past customers willing to vouch for them."
6. Ask for references
A reliable contractor should list past customers willing to vouch for them. Ask the contractor to give you a list of past clients. These should be people who live around your area and be recent projects (maximum of three years).
Call these customers and ask them to visit the project to see the contractor’s work. Ask them about their experience working with the contractor. (14 Questions to ask your building contractor's clients)
7. Employees, partnerships, and equipment
How many employees does the contractor have, and what are the qualifications of those employees? How many part-time versus permanent workers are on their payroll? Do they have binding contracts with subcontractors and suppliers? What kind of relationships and partnerships have they built over the years? What equipment do they have?
8. Insurance and bonding
"The minimum you should expect regarding a contractor’s insurance policies is workers’ compensation, personal liability, and property damage insurance."
You want to see and be able to verify the contractor’s certificate of insurance. The minimum you should expect regarding a contractor’s insurance policies is workers’ compensation, personal liability, and property damage insurance. A bonded contractor is even better. The bond ensures you will be compensated if the contractor abandons the project midway.
9. Request and compare prices
You want to have a shortlist of 3-5 contractors for your project, companies that meet the above criteria. Ask each short-list contractor to give you a quotation for the project and a sample contract.
Compare the different documents; how materials are priced, how they charge for their work, the payment schedule, and how disputes will be resolved. Choose the contractor who demonstrates the most professionalism and shows the most transparency.
Checking Your Contractor's Price (Quotation)
Finding a dependable and skilled contractor for your home renovation
Hiring a reputable contractor for your upcoming home remodeling project is crucial. It can mean the difference between successful work and future financial and logistical hardships. The hardest element of home improvement projects is typically not the actual job itself. The real challenge is finding a dependable and skilled contractor to do the task.
Envy Property Management is a professional property management company in South Ogden, UT. We manage properties all over Northern Utah. You can find out more about us at http://www.envypropertymanagement.com.
Want to learn more about designing, renovating and building houses?
Paul Netscher has written 2 easy to read books 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses - Volumes 1 and 2'. An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses Volume 1 deals with Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home. and Designing your ideal home Volume 2 deals with Finding Your Ideal Property and Designing Your Dream Home.
("Great for those that DIY. Very helpful in home renovations!" said a Reader on Amazon.com 5*****)
These books are available from Amazon and other online bookstores in paper and ebook.
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I’m a construction professional, author of several successful construction management books, and a home owner. I’ve made mistakes in construction management, I’ve seen others make mistakes, but importantly I’ve had multiple successful construction projects and I’ve learned from the mistakes. I want to share these lessons and my knowledge with you.
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and 'An Introduction to Building Houses - Volume 2 Finding Your Ideal Property and Designing Your Dream Home'
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