Trying to find a contractor for your home improvement project may be the hardest part of the whole project. It is however, the most important decision you will make. An unprofessional home improvement contractor can wreak havoc on your home and your bank account. There are plenty of horror stories out there of half-finished kitchens and bathrooms, additions not up to code, and contractors just not showing up anymore after receiving payments. To protect yourself from these occurrences be sure to do your research when hiring a remodeling contractor. Here are 5 steps to find a contractor that will be a right fit for you and your project.
Start Slow When Trying to Find a Contractor
Once you have decided to move forward with a remodeling project it is easy to make the mistake of rushing into decisions. Don’t just pick a contractor out of the blue just to get your project started right away. Start slow, do your own research first (Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report), educate yourself on the project and on different contractors. Make sure to choose a contractor that is licensed to work in your state. In Massachusetts you can go to state website and check if all licenses are up to date. Write down what you are looking for in a contractor and what you expect for your renovation.
Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
Referrals are the best source of information when trying to find a contractor. For many consumers today the internet and social networks can provide great information about a potential contractor. Check out the company’s website, Facebook, Google+, etc., to see reviews and testimonials. But most importantly, enlist the knowledge of any family, friends, or neighbors that have had work done by a contractor. In today’s world of digital information at your fingertips word of mouth is still the most important form of advertising for any successful contractor.
While referrals and the gathering of information is important, a face to face meeting is an essential to find a contractor. Meeting for a consultation can determine whether or not you are a fit to work together. Try to see if you develop a certain rapport, remember this person or their team will be in your home for an extended period of time.
Trust Your Gut
Be conscious of your instincts and be on the look-out for any red flags when trying to find a contractor. An unusually low bid may seem like a great thing at first, but a low bid can mean low quality products or craftsmanship. Other red flags include; request for a significant amount of money up, request to be paid in cash only, or no physical business address. If anything seems suspicious to you move onto another contractor.
Make Final Decision
Once you have had consultations and decided on a contractor there are a few more issues to resolve before you start your project. Get a contract with a start/completion date, detailed payment schedule and don’t forget to get it in writing. Ask your remodeling contractor for proof of insurance and workman’s comp. You do not want to be on the hook for any injury to a worker or subcontractor during the project.