Every year millions of Americans embark on a home remodeling project to improve their comfort and quality of living. Among these millions are the “Do-it-yourself-ers” and the “hire-a-professional-to-do-it-for-me-ers.”
Sometimes home improvement projects can be tackled by the avid DIY-er, but when it comes to larger projects, you may just find hiring a professional is the best way to go. After all, without the experience, some home remodeling tasks may prove too overwhelming for the average homeowner. If you are looking to hire a contractor, here are a few quick tips that can help streamline the process and possibly help save you some money along the way.
Before breaking out the tool belt, crack open a beer and some magazines.
You heard right… just like anything else in life, having a game plan will help tremendously. Doing visual research will help you choose materials, define your preferences, develop a “master plan” and understand what professionals might need to get involved in the process (such as a plumber or electrician).
Once you find some visual reference, clip those images out and use them to help determine a budget to achieve the desired outcome. Visual reference will help your contractor understand your preferences and give them an clearer sense of a realistic budget, timeframe and material list.
Picking the right contractor for the job.
When it comes to picking a contractor it’s surprising how many people simply make a couple of calls or take a quick look online and call it good. Home remodeling projects can add up quickly, and your home is often times turned inside out in the process. For these reasons and more, I think it’s important to do more than make a few phone calls before choosing a contractor. The last thing you want is to be unhappy with the end result! Part of the process is not only shopping around for a good price, but also meeting with contractors to find the best fit for you and your project.
Sure, everyone wants to save money, but just like contractors say, “measure twice and cut once” you should “research plenty and get the job done right the first time.” I know the second phrase wasn’t as catchy, but if you’ve ever had to pay for a job twice the words will ring true.
The internet has made finding general contractors pretty darn easy. With all of this helpful information at our fingertips, I think people forget some of the most traditional and proven ways of finding a good contractor.
Your Referral Network:
One of the best ways to find good local help is by not only finding names of contractors online and in the phone book, but also asking people you know who have had home remodeling work or renovations done. Referrals from neighbors, friends, family and coworkers carry a lot of weight because they are testimonials from actual happy customers. Once you’ve received a few good referrals, check out the contractors yourself.
The Background Check:
Check out your contractors? Absolutely! You are going to get to know the person you hire VERY well if you are considering a big project like a kitchen or bathroom remodel. These projects take time, so it’s important you get along and communicate well with your contractor. Here are a few things to check when searching for a contractor or construction company:
- Look for additional referrals or comments for your selected companies through local trade associations.
- Check to see if any complaints have been filed against any of your selected companies through consumer protection agencies.
- Make sure the company a BBB certified company.
- Find out how long the company has been in business.
- Does the contractor carry insurance that protects you against liability?
- Does the contractor have a portfolio of previous remodeling jobs?
- Does your contractor have a specific certification or area of expertise?
- Will the contractor commit to a timeframe for completion?
- Have your selected contractors been responsive to phone calls and questions? (This will tell you a lot!)
- Does the contractor have any references that you can contact?
- Lastly, check to verify that the construction company you choose is in fact licensed with the state. You can also see if any complaints have been filed against the company through the state licensing channels.
Before signing anything, make sure that you feel comfortable with your selection. That tingle on the back of your neck just might be telling you something. If you feel comfortable with your contractor, give the contract a good look over before signing and make sure you’re on board and that everything is specified in that contract. Also, find out about any warranties offered on both parts and services.
Hope you found this information helpful and happy head hunting!