For every homeowner, the hardest part of any property upgrades or home renovations isn't the work itself; it is finding a competent and dependable home contractor to do the job. From planning and building the structure to fittings and fixtures, each and every work should be done correctly. To perform a high-level job from start to finish, you will need a dependable and reputable contractor, who has many years of experience. Being a homeowner, you are also worried about keeping the project on-budget and on-schedule.
Every once in a while everyone in their life has experienced or heard about horrendous contractors who have turned homeowners beautiful dreams into frightening nightmares. The majority of contractors are honest and trustworthy, but there will be those who are always willing to run a scam or keep your work unfinished and run off with your money.
If you are doing a big project, you will need a General Contractor (GC), who hires subcontractors to perform various specialized work such as electrical, plumbing, carpenter, etc. They make sure that all deadlines are met; cost stay on-budget and all permits are filled. Many people work as their own general contractors, hiring each and every sub-contractor by themselves. This process certainly saves you money, but it is a time-consuming job to find multiple contractors instead of just one.
Tips for finding a proficient and reliable home contractor
Plan everything before talking to a contractor. You should be clear and confident about what you want and what materials you would like to use. This will help you get a more accurate estimate of your expense and time for the job to complete.
Asking your friends, families or colleague about reliable contractors can be a great way to find an excellent contractor to work with. You can also ask your neighbours who have done similar projects about their experience with the contractor. But if you are new and don't know much about the area and unsure about other suggestions, you can consider online services to find reliable home contractors. The advantage of online service is that you can select contractors by looking at their ratings and reviews given by the customers. It will give you all the information about the contractors and also helps you to find one close to your home.
Even if the contractor has good online ratings or highly recommended by your friends and families, don't stick with one contractor and listen to whatever he/she says. Interview multiple contractors and get written estimations from each one of them. Later compare those estimations and make sure each one includes the same work and materials for the job. Always remember that every contractor will have a different approach, timeline and budget to provide. Choose wisely and never be afraid to negotiate. This process will help you to get a sense of knowledge about everything related to your work and choosing the right person for the job.
Ask for references or work the contractors has done in recent times. A good contractor will be willing to share the contacts and information about the latest work they have done. With the help of the information, you may know how they have managed their previous work, did they leave the site in a total mess or do they have enough cash flow to pay their subcontractors. If they provide you with old references, it might be a sign of their poor work quality.
Every reliable and reputable contractor, including online service contractors, must have a proper license from municipality or a business license. They should also provide insurance certificates, which will ensure that the contractor is covered if anything goes wrong in the process. After getting the license number and insurance certificates, do check them out and make sure everything is up to date. With the help of their license number, you can contact your local municipality to determine whether the contractor is legal or not. Keep in mind that a business license and a contractor license are two different things. Every state, city and municipality has different terms and conditions for a contractor license.
Sign a detailed contract with your contractor before the work starts. Make sure everything is written and mentioned in the contract like, what is the work, deadlines, payment schedule, what material will be used, who will provide those materials, etc. If there is any change in the project, whether you ask for additional work or you want to change the products used, there should be a new written contract.
Almost all renovation projects or property upgrades need proper permits issued by the government. Many licensed contractors will suggest you do the job without a permit to save money. Remember doing the task without a permit violates local ordinances and can lead to severe troubles like huge fines or stop your work from further progress. Be cautious if your contractor asks you to obtain the permits, don't do it, that's the contractor's job.
It is common for every contractor to request upfront payments before they start their work. You should never pay more than 10% of the total fee before the contractors begin the work. You don't want your contractor to use your money to finish someone else's job. Don't make the final payment until you are delighted with the work. Make sure your payment schedule and triggers are outlined clearly in your contract for progress payments.
It is scary to invest lot of money for your project, and you don't get your job done as you expected. It is even more terrifying if you can't have trust on the person accountable for finishing the work. Getting the right demands lots of time, research and effort, but in the end, if you get a right contractor, the effort will look worthy. Dealing with experience and the trustworthy contractor will help you get rid of a lot of stress and make sure that you will get the best of what you're paying for.