Home renovation projects will always require a professional contractor. When you search for one, you will come across hundreds of options available.
The question which you have to find the answer to is, how to hire a contractor?
We will today share with you a handful of tips. The aim of these tips is to help you choose the best contractor. Without any more delay, let us look at these tips so that it becomes easier for you to shortlist the best contractor for the job.
How to hire a contractor?
A few tips for hiring a contractor which you can follow include asking your family and friends for recommendations, conducting phone interviews before meeting in person, getting quotations, and so on. We will go into the details of all these and more below to help you make the right decision.
1. Ask your friends/relatives for recommendations
The very 1st tip which you have to follow is to ask your family and friends for recommendations. When you search for a contractor online, of course, you will find hundreds of options. Researching these many options is simply not possible.
The chances of choosing a substandard contractor when you’re eager for renewal are pretty high. Instead of doing so, it is a much better idea to go with the recommendations of your family and friends. Once you do so, you’re sure to find a contractor which is up to the mark.
With the 1st hand experience of your family and friends, it will indeed become easier for you to get a few recommendations of above-average contractors. You can eliminate most of the mediocre contractors simply by following this tip.
2. Conduct phone interviews
Even after following the 1st step, you will have a list of 10 to 15 contractors. Meeting them in person is time-consuming. In many cases, it is not possible and feasible as well.
A better alternative is to conduct phone interviews. That will help you inquire regarding the manpower which the contractor has, the timeslot which he can offer you, and how he goes about his assignments in general.
The communication by the contractor will also let you know whether a contractor is worth opting for or not. This will further bring down the list to 5 to 7 contractors, some you can easily meet and decide.
3. Meet face to face with shortlisted contractors
Face-to-face meetings can certainly help you know more about the experience of the contractor. A few questions which you should ask the contractor in face-to-face meetings include:
- How much is your experience in this industry?
- Have you completed a similar project in the past?
- What is the usual cost range for such a project?
- Are there any variables?
- How many skilled workers will be on the job?
When you ask these questions from the contractors, the replies will help you understand which contractor is better than the other. Essentially our aim is to choose the best contractor from the options which you have.
Face-to-face interviews will bring you a step closer to this call.
4. Get quotations
Getting written quotations from the contractors is a must. There are two reasons for the same.
- When you’re interviewing 5 to 6 contractors, remembering the terms and conditions, as well as the price points of all the contractors, is not easy. The quotations can help you with the same.
- With the help of written quotations, negotiations become easy. You can compare the quotations as well.
Due to these two reasons, it is always a good idea to get quotations from the contractors.
While this might seem like common sense but most of the homeowners do not follow it.
5. Inquire about the payment schedule
Every job is different for a contractor. Some might be different due to the requirements you have errors others might be different due to the area over which they need to do the job.
Of course, hiring a home renovation contractor for the entire home or even a part is an expensive interior. You need to manage your finances right from the start.
To manage them in a better way, you have to inquire about the payment schedule. Specially, you have to inquire about the upfront amount which you have to pay as well. Thereafter, you have to inquire how the milestones for payment will be.
One thing which you have to keep in mind is that you should prefer a contractor who offers a more convenient payment schedule.
We are not speaking about the most affordable contractor. We are speaking about the one which has a more convenient payment schedule.
This simple tip will save you a lot of headaches down the line.
6. Discuss the turnaround time
Many good contactors are booked months in advance. While hiring a good contractor is a must, but you need to also look at the turnaround time for the job.
If you need to get some repair and renovation work done now and your preferred general contractors booked for the next four months, it does not make sense to wait. In that case, you will have to search for another one.
Only when you discuss the turnaround time with the prospective contractor can you know about the same.
A lot also depends on whether you’re going with need-based renovation or want-based renovation. If you are going with the want-based renovation, you can, of course, wait for your favorite contractor to have a vacant slot and book it in advance.
You can do all of this only when you discuss the turnaround time with the contractor you have shortlisted. That is why this is an important tip to follow while choosing a contractor.
7. Don’t just look at the cost
Many homeowners make the mistake of going with the most affordable contractor. Doing so can prove to be costly in the longer run.
There are quite a few reasons for the same:
- Affordable contractor might do shoddy work. In that case, the durability of that work will not be much. In the longer run, you might end up paying more.
- An affordable contractor might also result in cost overruns. In that case, once again, the cost of the project will increase significantly.
- The cheapest contractor might have lower manpower which will increase the time which it takes to execute the work. Once again, that will disrupt your lifestyle and schedule, which will cost you more in the longer run.
Going with the cheapest contractor is not a good idea. Instead, you have to compare the quotations and the inclusions and then choose a contractor which provides you with better value for money.
8. Go with licensed contractors
You might be thinking, isn’t this obvious?
Most homeowners do not enquire from the contractor whether they have got the required licenses or not. There are a few ways to know about this without inquiring as well.
Most licensed contractors have their licenses displayed on their website, Facebook page, and so on. You have to check these out to find out whether they are licensed or not.
If you are choosing an unlicensed general contractor, your liability increases manifold. Due to the same, you have to always go with a licensed contractor.
Not only that, you have to enquire from the contractor as to whether they have an insurance policy or not.
Basically, by going with a licensed contractor and one which has an insurance policy, you can reduce your liability to almost nil. That should be your goal when hiring a contractor.
9. Ask for references
By asking for references from a prospect or contractor, you can know about their latest work as well. You should ask for references and also get in touch with those references.
Only once you do so will you gain more knowledge regarding the experience of other customers with the contractor. That will certainly help you weed out the contractors who aren’t up to the mark.
10. Insist on the written agreement
Whenever you’re hiring a contractor, the job might start after a few weeks and might last for 4 to 6 weeks. It means that from the point of contacting the contractor up to the end, it might be a good 8 to 12 weeks.
It is difficult to remember things for such a long time. To avoid any misunderstandings and conflicts, it is a good idea to insist on a written agreement.
The written agreement will include each and everything which the general contractor has to provide, including milestones and payment schedule.
That way, you do not have to worry about any changes to what is agreed, and the contractor also knows right from the start what they have to deliver.
It will certainly make it easy for you to hire a contractor and get things done according to the plan.
So, when hiring a contractor, rather than hiring the 1st one you find, it is a good idea to follow these ten tips. Once you follow these steps, choosing the right building contractor becomes easy.
While these tips might seem difficult to follow but the truth is that they are effortless to follow and execute. When you take these tips into account, you’re sure to find the best contractor from the hundreds of options that you have.