Hiring the Right Home Remodeling Contractor
Are You Hiring the Right Contractor?
There are lots of things to think about when hiring a contractor for a home project so take a quick second and review these best practices!
There are a few things that can help you determine if a new contractor is the right man/woman for the job. First, in most states anyone who is hired to work on a job estimated at $500 and above (for work and materials) must hold a valid state license. You can verify the license on your state’s Consumer Affairs website.
The problem with hiring unlicensed contractors is the risk it involves. When they aren’t licensed, you are vulnerable to their poor workmanship or unsafe work practices. If the worker is injured, if the property is damaged or if the work is incomplete you could be left holding the bag.
There are around 40 classifications of licenses as well. From general contractors to landscapers – make sure the license fits the project. You don’t want a licensed plumber rewiring your chandelier.
The more detailed your plan, the better idea of what kind of contractor you need for your project. General contractors oversee the project and coordinate specific licensed subcontractors for the job. So if your job needs two or more specialty contractors it might be easier to hire a general contractor.
Dealing with a contractor also means that you will want to receive other bids to make sure you are getting a fair deal. But that doesn’t mean go with the cheapest option every time. There are fixed costs associated with nearly every job, so if someone is charging 75% off, that might mean they will use very poor quality materials or not put the right amount of effort into the craftsmanship.
All contractors should do their very best to make you happy, you are the customer after all. You don’t want a yes man, but you should require that the person is responsible and responsive to your requests. Part of that responsiveness should be negotiated in the initial contract. (Always get a contract!) And define the scope of the work well before they hammer the first nail. More than one project has failed because of simple misunderstandings.
The contractors should provide their own tools or be insured if they damage any of the tools you allow them to use. Also verifying that they have all of the right tools available for the job can save you the headache of watching an electrician stand on your newly installed counter-tops while he replaces your light fixture.
Just because they came to your house and gave you an estimate doesn’t mean you should pick a particular company, a good rule of thumb is to always have at least 3 estimates made before you begin work. And if they want to charge you for the estimate, explain to them that there are plenty other companies out there willing to make an estimate for free.
Don’t ever feel pressured to go with one particular contractor, if you feel awkward then they probably aren’t the right choice. Whoever you choose will have access to your property and you need to have built a trust relationship with them. Following these tips and with a little patience and the right planning you can make sure your project goes off without a hitch!