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Choosing a Contractor

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You’ve decided to embark on your next remodeling project or construction of your new home.   You’ve collected 3 (or more) bids from contractors.  Now you must decide which contractor to choose.  It is best to not let price dictate your decision.  Of course, price is a factor, but there are many other factors to consider.

When remodeling or building a home, you must remember that a very personal relationship will begin to develop.  This person is going to be in your home nearly every day.  Given the size of your project it could be for months.  You might want to ask yourself does this persons seem like someone you would like to work with.   Do your personalities mesh well?  It’s no fun trying to convey your thoughts and ideas to someone who is unwilling to listen or whose ego continues to get in the way.

Another thing to consider is how sustainable is this company?  Contractors seem to “pop up” from time to time only to disappear later.  They may tell you they have been in the industry for some time, but what he may not be telling you is he’s only been in business for a short time.  When reviewing your bids, do your best to determine if you think this contractor is going to be around in the next couple years should you need to call him back for warranty work, to ask questions, or for another project.

One factor that is often overlooked is the level of support given throughout the process.  Most contractors have more than one project going on at any given time. Will your project get the attention you want throughout the process?   Does the company have an office staff?  During the estimating phase, how responsive was the company to you?

And finally, what is their reputation?  The best way to get a sense of any company / contractor you want to work with will be through referrals.  If the contractor didn’t come to you through a referral, then ask for some.  If the contractor cannot quickly send you them to you, you may want to reconsider using him.  Most people will be willing to share their opinions.  If you have the above questions in mind when speaking with referrals, this may narrow down your choices for the right contractor.

Estimates 101

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Starting a new construction or remodeling project in your home or business can be both exciting and daunting.  In my experience, the root of most construction problems or frustrations happen because of miscommunication between the contractor and the home or business owner.  Most of the time this problem begins in the estimating phase of the project.  Because most homeowners do not have the background in construction that many contractors do, they are at a disadvantage when selecting someone to do work in their home or business. 

 Here is a quick list of important factors to consider when hiring a contractor of any type.

Is your contractor licensed?

  • Always ask for the license number of any contractor you hire to make sure that they are legally allowed to perform work on your home.

 Is your contractor sufficiently insured?

  • The contractor’s insurance will cover any damage he or she may cause to your property, but did you know that if an uninsured contractor gets injured on your property, you may be held liable?

 All estimates are not equal!

  • Always ask the contractor what “allowances” (price assumptions) he has included in your bid. If one contractor is holding allowances for Formica countertops and another is holding allowances for Granite, then their prices are going to completely different.

  Ask your contractor to provide references and pictures of past work.

 Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of your contractor.

  • You will be able to see any outstanding issues with the contractor. Unsettled disputes are not a good sign!

 Appearances mean everything!

  • A contractor being late to an estimate may be a sign of he or she being spread too thin. You don’t want to see the result of this halfway through a major renovation, it’s not pretty!
  • Does your contractor present himself in professional and knowledgeable way? This person is representing the standard of work that he or she will uphold throughout the project.

 Lowest isn’t always best!

Sometimes contractors are able to complete projects significantly cheaper than their competitors because they have some type of competitive edge.  However,  make sure the finished product you receive from a low bidder will be to the standard you wish to display in your home or business.

 

RECENT POSTS

Choosing a Contractor

posted in

You’ve decided to embark on your next remodeling project or construction of your new home.   You’ve collected 3 (or more) bids from contractors.  Now you must decide which contractor to choose.  It is best to not let price dictate your decision.  Of course, price is a factor, but there are many other factors to consider. […]

Estimates 101

posted in

Starting a new construction or remodeling project in your home or business can be both exciting and daunting.  In my experience, the root of most construction problems or frustrations happen because of miscommunication between the contractor and the home or business owner.  Most of the time this problem begins in the estimating phase of the […]