How to Choose The Right Contractor For Your Project
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
Choosing a satisfactory contractor is a crucial step in any remodeling project. How can you as the homeowner, be confident you’re hiring the right candidate? Here are some guidelines for succeeding through that process:
Determine who you will need to hire. If you’re looking to hire someone for a small project, such as painting a room or replacing light fixtures, then you only need a skilled tradesman. However, if you’re looking for someone to do anything with multiple aspects such as plumbing, electrical, tiling, and painting, for instance, in a kitchen or bathroom remodel, then you’ll want to hire a general contractor.
Do proper research. Most homeowners setting out on a home remodel journey, start by asking people they know for contractor recommendations. Seek referrals from friends and family, the people that you trust – and keep in mind, even if they had a gratifying experience, don’t presume you will for certain, as each project is different. Have in mind throughout your quest, that only a handful of people, usually architects, are even qualified to recognize if a contractor is technically competent. A proficient contractor will have good leadership, communication, and management skills, and they will deliver the finished project as promised even if things go wrong.
Communicate your vision well before getting bids. If you’re bringing in multiple contractors to bid, put together a scope of work for the project that you can present to each of them. Its recommended to put together the scope of work, by walking through the property, writing down what you want done, and locating comparable/inspirational pictures online to include as well. Also, remember to specify your budget range and provide a material spec sheet as well which should include your desired appliances, lighting, cabinetry, and any other selection details you might have. Adding a floor plan is always very helpful too.
Schedule an on-site meeting. Schedule an on-site walk-through at the property to review the project, and the scope of work you created. This is an opportune time to determine whether you’re on the same page about your vision, and to ensure transparency for both you and the contractor.
Make sure the contractor has the required insurances in place. Always make sure the contractor has Workers Compensation Insurance and General Liability Insurance as required before hiring them for your project.
Warning Signs Of A Bad Contractor 1) If a contractor doesn’t want to utilize a written contract 2) If a contractor requests a cash-only deposit 3) If a contractor wants to charge for an outline proposal (a fully detailed estimate is something different, then it’s common for the contractor to reimburse this fee when they are awarded the project.) 4) If a contractor asks you to submit permits. (this is their responsibility, and it also helps building agencies confirm the contractor is currently licensed)
Important Tip: Although you may read otherwise, do not invite more than 3 contractors to bid on your project. If you do, you are likely going to end up wasting your time and reducing interest of each contractor. In the perspective of a contractor, a one-in-three is worth the effort, but more than that, is a high chance of a waste of their time. Also, be sure not to schedule more than one contractor to your home at the same time. Instead, take an individual walk-through with each contractor, like this you will be able to focus and acknowledge the input they share with you, and make notations for yourself, so that you can include into your plan, possibly.