If you want to renovate or put an addition on your house, it’s really important to choose the right contractor. Because renovations are expensive, a good general contractor can make your life a lot easier. From managing all the moving parts of the reno, to helping you prepare for all the major expenses, a good contractor is well worth the cost. But how do you determine who is the best contractor for the job? It's not as easy as choosing the lowest-priced option – in fact, that's a dangerous move if the quote is significantly lower than the other quotes. To begin your search, you first need to consider recommendations from friends and neighbors, and then do an online search. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right one.
Get as many bids as you can
Get the best bid by conducting a walk-through of your renovation prior to receiving an estimate. Explain all changes you want to make and give the contractor a detailed list of materials you plan on using. Low or high bids raise red flags, so be sure to ask why there might be such difference in price between them. Once you have bids in hand, compare them carefully and ferret out any differences in quality. Lastly, don't forget to review the warranties offered by each contractor.
Assess your needs
The best way to determine the right contractor for you is to consider the needs of your specific project. The square footage of your home, for example, will determine the size and number of rooms that need to be remodeled. A contractor who specializes in kitchen-renovation projects won't necessarily be the best choice for building a patio or porch area, or renovating an attic space. You'll also want to consider the expertise of the contractor. You should request photos and references from previous jobs. A reputable contractor should be able to give you these elements without refusing to do so.
Demand a construction schedule
As you search for the right contractor, be sure to research a company’s availability. Also, demand a construction schedule and get it in writing. A good contractor will let you know when they can start your project and how long it will take them to complete it. Before you pick a contractor, be sure to have a written, detailed proposal from them.
Research the credibility of the company
When choosing a contractor, prioritize research. Be sure to check references, gather competitive bids and compare rates. By checking with the Better Business Bureau, you will be able to obtain information about a contractor’s complaint history and customer reviews.
Check their insurance and licenses
When you’re shopping for construction contractors, be sure to check their insurance and licenses. A good contractor will have ensured that they have proper liability insurance to protect your home and belongings in the event of damage to your residential or commercial property. They will also be bonded while working on any of your property, and certain states even require contractors to be bonded while working on vacant properties. Make sure they hold a license as well – this protects you in the event that a worker becomes injured while on the job, or causes damage while doing repairs or renovations. It also protects against theft and vandalism in the instance that work being done has a negative effect on nearby properties.
Get to know their team and subcontractors
Taking the time to get to know your contractor’s team structure will end up making the difference between an excellent renovation and a nightmare experience. When interviewing contractors, ask about their team. Who will be helping you on your renovation? How stable is the company? What experience do they have? How often do they work with subcontractors? What are the limitations of scope of each subcontractor? How does your GC/ Contractor plan to coordinate work gaps between different subcontractors?
Ask about their billing practices
Be sure to ask your contractor about their billing practices. Many contractors like to convince customers that they were honest, hard-working people and therefore deserve to earn the full contract amount, instead of being a dishonest worker who has zero interest in customer satisfaction. There are two ways that you can find out how your money was spent: first, you could request a detailed bill every week. This means that they should break down all the material costs and labor costs into smaller segments so that it would be easier for you to keep track of expenditures. Also, never pay all of your money upfront without having a conversation about where the contractor intends to use your money. The fastest way to catch contractors with shady practices is by watching how they deal with paying local workers and suppliers: if things move along smoothly and quickly, your project should progress at an accelerated rate and your contractor will be less likely to cut corners.
Ready to move forward? Reach out to us to get help in evaluating the right contractor for you at firstname.lastname@example.org or 3322391599.