Always consider hiring a professional rather than taking on a job yourself. But choosing the wrong contractor can prompt deferrals, poor workmanship and legal problems. Select a contractor who has integrity as well as takes pride in his or her workmanship. There are likely many contractors in your area who can do the work you need to be done, but how will you choose the right contractor for you? Here are seven tips that will help.
1. Make a List of Contractors
First and foremost, decide on the scope of work for the property to help target the trades and breadth. For singular updates like pools, landscape, countertops, etc, there are often specific trades you can hire. For more extensive work like kitchen and bath remodels, a general contractor may be more applicable as numerous trades are often involved and need to be coordinated. Ask your neighbors for recommendations or check popular apps like Yelp and NextDoor to begin making a list.
2. Request References
Reputable contractors should have strong references from prior clients. It’s recommended to request references to better understand the contractor’s reliability, workmanship, timeline, and integrity. Oftentimes online reviews are helpful to begin initial downselections. Criticism, both positive and negative, are very important when deciding who to work with.
3. Make a Contract Beforehand
Whenever money is involved, a contract should be created. This will help to define the scope of work and articulate estimated expenses, timelines, and protocol in the case of workmanship issues or discoveries during renovations. Not only does this protect you but it also protects the contractor and his/her craft and livelihood. It is beneficial to hold each other accountable and to prevent any arguments or litigations down the road.
4. Check License and Insurance
Check that the contractor is licensed and insured. It is common to find unlicensed contractors who may offer a discount, but who don’t hold any liability in the case of issues. You don’t have recourse when hiring unlicensed contractors, which is a risk you take for more affordable pricing. We recommend choosing contractors who are licensed (they passed the training requirements) and insured (personal injury and workmanship issues are covered). Contractor tasks are very physical and involve power tools that can easily lead to injury. Avoid cutting corners for better pricing. This could cost you more in the end.
5. Build a Trusting Relationship
You should build a great relationship with your contractor. Create an environment to ask questions. Trusting your contractor is key. If your contractor is difficult to talk to and hard-headed, then it’s likely you’ll have challenges throughout the project. Consider asking questions like ‘How often do you finish a project on your original estimated timeline?’ ‘How long do you estimate this project will take?’ ‘What are some of the issues you foresee with this project?’ ‘Do you provide a warranty?’ Some contractors have been known to walk off job sites and not return. Be nice to them. Your home improvement is in their hands.
6. Set Boundaries
We understand the importance of boundaries. You may have a family or sensitive neighbors and need to be mindful of personal time, so be sure to set boundaries. Estimate working hours and off-limit hours. Establish methods of communication and avoid constant free-flowing thoughts via text message. There should be certain work and communication hours, outside of which is a personal time for both parties. Rooms can also be off-limits, and protective booties and blankets should also be used to protect your home during renovations. This will create an environment of respect and align expectations.
7. Don’t Rush The Process
Contractors will be in your home and around your kids and family. He will be around for quite a long time. Choosing the wrong contractor and creating a toxic and rushed relationship will oftentimes lead to frustration and delays. Take your time to select the right contractor and foster the relationship.
You need to confide in your contractor 100%, not 95%. Choosing the right contractor means you know what you are getting into. Start searching for a top contractor almost immediately so you can converge on an educated decision. This decision will directly impact the success or failure of your project. If someone lacks integrity, then no good plan or contract can help. Property Twins can make sure you end up with the right contractor. Simply, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us now at 408-800-2488.