Finding the right contractor is one of the major steps to beginning home renovations. Thinking about how you are going to hire a home improvement contractor involves more than dwelling on cost, but pricing is important. Here are five rules to remember when you are looking for that top-notch person to complete the job.
1. Consider Price vs. Quality
The more you pay, the better the quality of the job. This is the general rule of all contracting work, and a low bid doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best results. To know you’re getting the best deal, ask for a written description of all materials that will be used, to ensure only quality ones are involved. Expect a bid somewhere in the middle of the ideal price range, and have cash on hand for contractors who’d rather not wait for a loan approval. In fact, the contractor may cut as much as 10 percent of the cost if you have the money up front.
2. Get the Contract in Writing
All the details of the project should be written out. The contract should explicitly state the time frame of the project, its total cost, and the agreed upon payment arrangement. Also, the contractor should describe the project in detail and include their license number. The names of all parties involved in the deal should be listed. Instructions on dealing with additional costs should be included, should any come up.
A lack of a timeline can mean the contractor is so busy. That is because they must keep up with multiple projects. The contact information of everyone involved should be kept handy. In addition, store all job-related documents where you know these are easy to find at a moment’s notice.
3. Ask for the Contractor’s Credentials
Their credentials are often stated after their name. These abbreviations aren’t always universally known, so you want to do research into what they mean. If the initials represent a national trade organization, the individual is certified based on and bound to a strict code of ethics. You might see credentials such as local Building Industry Association membership (BIA), certified graduate remodeler (CGR), and National Association of Home Builders membership (NAHB). Stick with contractors who are licensed, bonded, and insured as well.
4. Stiffen the Competition
Know all the room measurements, appliances, and shades of paint that will be involved in the work. That way, you can obtain accurate bids and renegotiate. You can keep the competition stiff, yet fair, by getting at least five bids, but this will help you eliminate low outliers. Weeding out your choices is easier if you speak to recent customers, check local court records, research their experience, and ensure their license is current.
5. Educate Yourself
There’s a lot to know, from local permits to the cost of materials. Ask for as much information as possible, and don’t leave anything out. Home improvement contractors should be knowledgeable and willing to answer your questions. Outdated wiring can increase the costs of the job, so know what is involved in the work and how each aspect of the job affects the price.