If you’re shopping around for a contractor to help with some home renovations, you’ve already made one good decision. Many homeowners try to do a project themselves to save a little money. Admitting you’re not a professional and deciding you want the best outcome possible is a great first step.
A mistake to avoid is trying to save money by hiring the cheapest contractor you can find, or to save time by hiring the first contractor to pick up the phone. Picking the best person for the job takes time. Here are some tips to help you whittle your choices down and make the best decision.
How to Hire a Home Renovation Contractor
Step 1: Clearly identify your needs. It’s important to know exactly what you want done to your house before you start looking around. This will help you when looking for contractors since you can narrow your search to specialized professionals.
It’ll also help when it comes time to interview potential contractors by allowing you to tell them exactly what you want.
Step 2: Look for reviews. If you know of anyone who has completed a similar project, definitely ask them who they worked with and what they thought of the job. Ask friends or co-workers if they recommend anyone for home repairs. Word of mouth is the best reference to go off of when hiring professionals.
Of course, in today’s digital world, you don’t have to personally know someone who has had similar projects done. You can go online to find reviews for businesses and individual contractors. Some options to get you started are Yelp, Angie’s List, or Home Advisor. Even a simple Google search for your area could bring up reviews of local contractors.
Step 3: Interview your prospects. Once you’ve narrowed your options down a little, make sure you actually talk to a few contractors in person or over the phone to ask detailed questions specific to your situation.
Don’t interview just one contractor, even if you feel comfortable walking away from the first conversation. Keep your options open.
When interviewing contractors, be patient. The better the contractor, the busier they will be so a couple of unanswered phone calls isn’t necessarily a reason to quit. Leave a detailed message and wait until they have time to call you back.
Step 4: Do further research to verify credentials. It’s very important to make sure the home-repair professional you hire has the proper licenses to operate.
You’ll find many people working under the radar, but a true professional should have the proper records and documentation with the Better Business Bureau and local court. These records are open to the public, so you can request them or ask the contractor for a copy of their license.
Step 5: Negotiate the details and sign an official contract. Once you’ve settled on a particular contractor, make sure you let them know exactly what you want done to the house and get it down on paper.
The contract you sign should be clear and descriptive to avoid any surprises.
Other details you should discuss with your hired professional are working hours and points of contact. Find out who else will be working on the house if the contractor has employees or subcontractors they work with.
After it’s all said and done and the contractor has started work on your house, make sure to maintain constant communication with them. Don’t hand over the final payment until you’re are completely satisfied that the job is complete.