If you are planning a home improvement or remodeling project, you may be approaching the point at which you need to engage the services of a contractor. This may be the first time that you’ve hired a contractor. If that is the case, you may be wondering what you need to do when it comes to engaging the services of a reputable, reliable, and competent contractor. There are eight specific tips that you should bear in mind when you need to hire a contractor for a home improvement or remodeling project.
An important step to take when you need a contractor for a project at your home is to get recommendations. In other words, reach out to your friends, family, and even professional colleagues. Odds are that at least one person in your life has needed the assistance of a contractor for a home improvement project in the not too distant past.
People oftentimes overlook getting recommendations of this nature. The digital age has lessened the occasions in which people seek recommendations of this nature. The reality is that word of mouth recommendations of this nature can be vital sources of information when you seek professional services like a contractor for a home improvement project.
A prospective contractor should be willing to provide you the name of references as part of your own due diligence process. References can include former clients, vendors, and subcontractors. You want to get a broad picture of how a prospective contractor works with others or work for others.
Once you collect the names of references, make sure you actually call or email them. Oftentimes, people gather references and don’t follow up.
One suggestion is to email references. If you can get them to put their thoughts in writing. By taking this course, you can reference their thoughts as you make a final decision about hiring a contractor. Of course, you can make notes in a phone conversation. However, an email will prove to be far more complete and accurate.
Do Phone Interview
As you begin to narrow down your list of prospective contractors for your home renovation project, schedule and undertake a phone interview. Prepare a list of questions in advance.
A reputable, experienced contractor should have no issue with doing a phone interview. In fact, a contractor should appreciate the opportunity. It gives a contractor an opportunity to share more information about services.
Meet Face to Face
When you have really pared down the number of potential contractors for your project, take the phone interview a step further. Schedule a face to face meeting with a contractor before you make a final decision on hiring.
A face to face meeting gives you the ability to better sum up and evaluate a contractor. You have an opportunity to ask more questions and to share your vision of what you would like to see in the way of home renovation or remodeling.
Get Multiple Bids
In seeking a contractor for a home improvement or remodel project, seek out multiple bids. In this day and age, you should not have a problem obtaining bids from multiple contractors.
Indeed, you can make the bidding process competitive. You can let all bidders know what their compatriots are doing. This process can result in at least some contractors lowering their bids somewhat.
Establish a Payment Schedule
When hiring a contractor for a home improvement project, make sure a payment schedule is agreed to with the contractor. What this means is that you need to ensure that there is complete clarity and agreement in regard to when milestone payments will be made to the contractor as a project progresses.
Price Alone Should Not be Your Only Guide
Obviously, you want to get the most for your money when it comes to a home improvement project. This includes the work of a contractor.
Understanding this important goal, you need to keep in mind that price alone is not the only consideration. In other words, going with the “cheapest” contractor is not necessarily the best course to take.
In the end, you want to engage a contractor that makes a reasonable bid on your project. By engaging in competitive bidding, you will be able to get a better idea of what is a reasonable bid on your project.
Put It All in Writing
A handshake is not sufficient when it comes to engaging a home improvement contractor. Make sure that the entire agreement between you and a contractor is committed to writing.
Jessica Kane writes for Advance Online, a leading provider of web-based OSHA. DOT. and HAZWOPER training.