Choosing a Contractor
When doing a home renovation, the most important aspect -believe it or not- is choosing a contractor for your task. This task can be overwhelming, with the number of contractors on the market nowadays and all the offers. It is difficult to find someone who you can trust to do your work. That is why we took it upon ourselves to guide you through this delicate process. Here are a few tips on how to choose your contractor.
Know exactly what you want
Before choosing a contractor, you have to know what you want to do first. We do not mean the technical stuff, but an idea on what you want to do or perform. Take your time and do your own plan. Know what you want to do and when do you need it to be done. Discuss it with your family and collect their thoughts on the process. Having a plan helps you during the renovation process, if you find that your contractor is not following it, you know it is time to cancel their contract and choose another company. It also helps you determine your budget, and how would you spend it.
Ask your relatives and neighbors
Home renovation projects tend to have their own voices. In this industry, the word of mouth is the number one trusted source of marketing among its customers. If a contractor did bad work, you would know from their previous clients, similarly if they did good work. That is why it is beneficial if you ask your relatives and neighbors for good recommendations. If you see your neighbor’s home has been transformed beautifully ask them for the contact information of their contractor. You may say this an outdated technique, however, it is still a very successful one.
Check your contractor’s online reviews
In this day and age, you can find -literally- everything on the internet. It is a great idea to turn to the World Wide Web to check on a company you are going to work with. Visit your contractor’s web site or social media accounts. Read their customers’ reviews. More importantly, check how they handled complaints and bad reviews. If you find that, the contractor has ratings above average, and handle complaints professionally; then they are your person. If you saw that they handled complaints poorly, well, this is a red flag, and be prepared to receive similar treatment if you choose to do work with them.
Do not choose the first contractor on your list, but speak with several
It is recommended that you get the contact information of several “good” contractors. After checking their online reviews and asking about them. Try reaching out to talk with them. Do not confine yourself to only one contractor. Instead, get multiple bids on your project. Even if you feel satisfied with the first bid you got, do not go with it unless you have talked to several contractors first. Receive several bids, see what each bid offer, compare them to each other and weigh your options. Then go with the bid that best suits you. You can perform interviews personally or on the phone.
Some of the questions you may want to ask:
- The charge rate of each company?
- Whether or not they have worked on a project the size of yours previously?
- Their license?
- What are their specialties?
Naturally, you would have many questions other than the above, those are only some guidelines.
When interviewing contractors, ask each one of them to provide you with a detailed bid containing costs for labor, materials, and any other relevant expenses. Show the contractors your blueprints, discuss your plan with them, tell them your vision and what exactly you want, and then tell them your budget. That way you can compare bids and select the best for you. Generally speaking, any bid should be divided into:
- 40% allocated to labor and relevant expenses.
- 40% materials and tools and overhead.
- 20% the profit margin.
Check out the BBB Ratings
When you are interviewing the contractors, ask them for the official registered name of their business. That way you can contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and ask about the contractor. The BBB can help you decide by viewing the different complaints this contractor got before and how they handled it. Moreover, the BBB is the place you go to when you have a problem with a contractor that needs solving. In addition, knowing the official name of the contractor’s company helps you to know whether their license is still valid or not. Remember that having an unlicensed organization performing on your property may have legal consequences.
Review and sign the contract
After receiving the bids from the different contractors, you have contacted. It is time to settle for the one perfect for you. Once you have chosen it, start the negotiation process. Make sure that the contract is as detailed as possible. Do not leave anything out of it. Even breaks and days off must be included in the contract. Remember, this is the legal thing that binds both of you together and guarantees both of your rights. A final thing to say, good communication with your contractor is the number one rule for a job well done.