Whether you’re building your home from the ground up or just deciding to renovate your existing home, one thing you’ll definitely need is a contractor. But finding the right contractor can seem just as daunting as the actual renovation/building process. The last thing you want is to put your faith in the wrong hands. It’s very likely that you have friends with their own horror stories of contractors that left the job half-done or skimmed over “minor” details that end up causing major problems. Well, have no fear! We’re here to help you with these tips for finding the best contractor for your job.
No, you don’t have to have your plans laid out to the last piece of punctuation with binders and flow charts. But knowing what you want before you start talking to a contractor will give both you and them a better idea of what work will be required and what you’re headed for. The more specific you are with your vision, the easier it is for a contractor to solve your problems and present their pitch to you.
Get them. The best place to start is with friends, family, or co-workers who have recently completed a home renovation. They are your first line of defense in this battlefield. Unless this co-worker really doesn’t like you (in which case, what did you do???), you’re most likely to get the most honest feedback from people you trust. Especially in the age of social media and catfishing, relying strictly on online reviews can be risky.
Interview At Least Three Different Contractors
Even if you have an idea of who you want to use from the recommendations you received, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes there’s simply a communication breakdown between parties, and this can all be sussed out in the interview process. Not to mention, there’s no better read on a person than meeting them in person. You don’t have to stop at three, but check out no less than three. It’s much better if you have options to choose from than feel like you’re stuck with what you’ve got.
Visit Old Job Sites
While we don’t suggest you just drive up to a stranger’s house and knock on their door asking to see their new master bathroom, but if you’re able to visit a previous site (even if it’s an office/commercial space) then make that trip. You get to see firsthand what their finished product looks like, as well as how it holds up over time. If you’re using someone from your inner circle, then you’ve already got an idea of their calibre of work (and it’s probably what drew you to them in the first place.
Employees Or Subcontractors?
Ask your contractor if he works with a regular set of employees, or if he hires out subcontractors on a job-by-job basis. This isn’t to say that all subcontractors are inherently bad, but you want to be confident in the trust and rapport your contractor has with who his fellow co-workers. If you can access their employee list, even better. The key to remember is that your home will be open to this crew for the duration of the job. You should feel comfortable with everyone who takes part in the process.
Hammer Out The Details
Speaking of random people invading your home, nail down all the gritty details before beginning work. Lay out the ground rules of what rooms they will need to be in/travel through, what bathroom they have access to, where to store supplies/materials, and cleaning up at the end of the day. Determine when work begins and ends, and set up a system of notifications for deliveries and such. Set your boundaries and make sure they are honored by your contractor and their crew.
There are more tips to consider, but we’ll let you digest these for now. Stay tuned for some later lists with more info. But this is an excellent place to start. Do the research and be thorough in your interviews. In the end, trust your gut.