Whether you’re looking to completely renovate a home or just do some minor updates, choosing a contractor can be one of the trickiest parts of any project!
Follow these tips to select the best contractor for the job.
1. Know Where To Look
Use your real estate investing network, or personal referrals, to gather recommendations of reputable contractors they may have used previously on similar projects.
2. Get To Know Your Contractor
Conduct phone interviews and face to face interviews with any contractor candidate. Don’t just choose one. Give yourself options to find the best fit for your specific project.
3. Ask Questions
Is your contractor fully insured and bonded? Are they knowledgeable and willing to explain local building codes? Are they adamant about compliance with these codes or local regulations? Steer clear of a contractor who tries to work around the law.
4. Request References & Examples
Ask your contractor for a minimum of three references from former clients; have them show you their portfolio and look for any similarities in what you have in mind for your project.
Don’t just ask for references, check them! Make a list of necessary questions and call each provided reference. Better yet, visit the sites in person. Don’t be afraid to get personal with them – find out what their likes and dislikes were regarding that contractor.
6. Create A Scope Of Work
Once you’ve found a few reputable contractors, get creative! Put your ideas on paper and come up with a tentative plan for your project.
7. Gather Bids
Submit your plans to each contractor. Don’t choose a contractor solely on price; the best price may not necessarily mean the best work. Be detailed with your request; get line by line scope of work estimates to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.
8. Protect Yourself
Once you’ve chosen your contractor and set a price on your project, write up a contract. Be specific; include materials, schedules and even a warranty agreement between you and your contractor! Be sure both you and your contractor sign this contract and each have a copy for your records!
9. Set Up A Pay Schedule
You’re excited to get the show on the road, but don’t just pay the entire bill up front. Work with your contractor to set a payment schedule after certain deliverables have been met.
10. Stay Involved
You’ve hired a wonderful contractor, but that doesn’t mean you should leave everything in their hands and hope for the best. Pop in often enough to make sure the work is being done how you originally anticipated. This way, if anything isn’t 100% to your liking, necessary adjustments can be made before the job is finished!
My husband recently got a new job and we are really excited because we are going to build our own home! I like that you say to ask for references from former clients and then call them and ask specific questions about the quality of the work that was done. Also, I agree that it is a good idea to set up a pay schedule so you don’t have to pay the entire bill up front.
Good article. It really helped me understand the process of hiring a contractor.