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8 Steps To Hiring The Right Contractor

Hiring a contractor for the first time can be an intimidating process. Even more so if you have already had a bad experience with a contractor. Remember, as always, communication is key. The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get it. Here are a list of steps to ensure that your dream project doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

1. Make a plan

Really take the time to think about what you want done. Consider working with a designer or architect so that both you and your contractor know exactly what you want done with the space. Permit plans are very basic and will not be enough to get an accurate price before the contractor begins.

2. Time is in the details

Small accessories and fixtures can completely change the cost of a project. Go ahead and pick out everything from light fixtures, to tiles, to finishes. I mean everything including the kitchen sink. By doing so not only will you be able to keep tighter control on the cost of your project, it will also save you from making decisions under pressure. If your choices are holding up production it can be frustrating for the contractor and yourself.

plans photo
Photo by owlpacino

3. No insurance, no thank you

Don’t even bother to hand your plans to a contractor who is uninsured. Under no circumstance should you hire anyone whose work isn’t fully covered. This is your home and you want to make sure you take every possible step to protect it. The savings just aren’t worth the risk with this one.

4. It’s bidding time

Once you have everything in place, you can then circulate your plans to a few contractors and begin getting some estimates. If you worked with an architect or designer to draw up your plans, ask them for a few names of contractors they might recommend. This is also a great time to ask some friends whom they have previously used. There is nothing better than tried and tested.

bathroom photo
Photo by G. Aristolas & Co.

5. Take a look

Once you have a few contractors in mind, ask to see some of the projects they have completed. This is an easy way to make sure that you will like what you see when a contractor is finished. Maybe the projects you see are not the same style as yours, but try to focus on the quality of the work. If possible, talk to the homeowners and make sure they were pleased not only with the result but with the process.

6. Set up an interview

There are MANY questions you will need answered before starting your project. No, you don’t need to set up an interview with everyone who gave you a bid but choose a few to meet in person. Try to choose a contractor who is not only an experienced professional but also someone that you think you will work well with. During this project you will probably be talking to this person as often as you do your best friend, so it’s important that you can get along.

tools photo
Photo by psd

7. Extra, Extra

There are always extras that come up in the construction process. If you have followed steps one and two you should be ahead of the game, but still talk with your contractor and make sure that you are on the same page about what to do when added expenses come up.

8. Develop a timeline

Discuss a timeline with the contractor and then tack on few weeks. Just because you have hired a contractor doesn’t mean you have eliminated unforeseen problems. It does mean that you have found someone to manage those problems. Have realistic expectations and please don’t plan a dinner party for the day the contractor says your kitchen will be finished. You are just asking for trouble.