8 Points to Consider When Hiring a Contractor

1. Obtain referrals

Start with your friends and relatives, then look for a list of members in your area at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. You can also talk to a building inspector, who will know which home renovation contractors routinely meet code requirements, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors on a regular basis and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.

2. Conduct telephone interviews

Once you’ve compiled a list, Tom, νομιμοποιηση αυθαιρετων, suggests giving each of your prospects a quick call and going over the following questions to ask a contractor:

• Do they work on projects that are similar to yours?
• Is it possible for them to produce financial references from vendors or banks?
• Is it possible for them to provide you with a list of former clients?
• How many other projects would they be working on concurrently?
• When did they start working with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will disclose the company’s availability, dependability, and the amount of attention they’ll be able to devote to your job, as well as how easily the work will proceed.

3. Face-to-Face Meeting

Choose three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further conversation based on the phone interviews. A contractor should be able to effectively answer your inquiries in a manner that puts you at ease. Because this person will be in your home for hours at a time, Tom thinks it’s critical that you and this person communicate properly. On the other hand, don’t be fooled by a person’s personality. Before you employ a contractor, check with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have a history of conflicts with consumers or subcontractors.

4. Look into the facts

Put your research to work now that you’ve narrowed down your list. Inquire about previous clients’ projects and request to see the finished product. However, Tom advises against relying solely on the outcomes. Even more importantly, go to a current job site and observe the contractor in action. Is the construction site clean and safe? Are the workers respectful of the homeowner’s belongings?

5. Make plans and solicit bids

You’ve narrowed down your choice of contractors to those with a good track record and a responsible work culture. It’s time to move on from your previous work and focus on your current project. A responsible contractor will require not just a thorough set of drawings, but also an understanding of what the homeowners want from the job and how much they intend to spend. Ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins, and other expenses to compare bids. Materials typically account for 40% of the overall cost; the remaining costs cover overhead and the normal profit margin of 15 to 20%.

6. Make a payment plan

Another crucial advice for choosing a contractor is to plan ahead of time for payment. Payment schedules might reveal a contractor’s financial situation as well as his or her work ethic. They may have financial troubles or be concerned that you won’t pay the balance after you’ve seen the work if they want half of the bid up front. For large projects, a typical payment schedule includes 10% at contract signing, three payments of 25% evenly spaced across the project’s lifetime, and a check for the final 15% when you believe all items on the punch list have been finished.

7. Don’t Base Your Decisions on Price

Tom says, “Throw away the lowball bid.” “This contractor is probably cutting costs or, worse, is starving for employment,” says the author, which is hardly a positive indicator in a booming economy. Comfort should play an equal or greater importance in your decision than technical proficiency. The ability of you and the contractor to communicate is the single most critical element in selecting a contractor. When selecting a contractor, it’s best to spend more and obtain someone you’re familiar with if all other factors are equal.

8. Put it on Paper

Create a contract that outlines every step of the project, including a payment schedule, proof of liability insurance, and worker’s compensation payments; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills). Tom assures us that insisting on a detailed contract isn’t motivated by mistrust. It’s all about making sure the renovation goes well.