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Contractor Selection

Any construction project, essentially, is an investment. Who you hire makes a big difference in the end and what your experience throughout the process will be like. It can be stressful looking for someone who is reliable and communicates well. Don’t settle for the first pop-up ad that comes your way. These tips for hiring a contractor will help you find the right company for the job.

Have an understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

Before you make a phone call, figure out what you want and what kind of contractor can make it happen. Ask yourself: is this something a specialty contractor can do or are there multiple aspects you need to integrate into your project. You don’t want to waste time looking for specialty contractors when your project calls for an architect. The more specific you can be, the better answers you’ll get out of your research. How big is your project and what would be the approximate cost? Perhaps most important, what is your budget?

Visit our Pre-Construction Services page and see if we can help you answer those questions.

Use Word-of-Mouth

Reach out to your friends who have had similar work done. Find out who they worked with and what their experiences with them were like. Were they happy with the end result? Did they have and overall a good experience with that company? Do they have any tips for you in selecting a contractor?

Ask Important Questions

Now that you have a general ideal of what you need done, suggestions of how to pick and you’ve done your own research, it’s time to start making calls. We suggest calling at least 5 companies. The following questions, along with an assessment of the contractor’s demeanor and communication style, will help you narrow down your top options:

  1. Have they done these types of projects before? How many? How much did they approximately cost?
  2. How long have they been in business?
  3. Are they insured?
  4. Are they licensed according to the laws of your state?
  5. What is their availability like?
  6. Can they give you a list of references?

After these calls and follow-up research, you should be able to cut your list down to top 3. Schedule a time to meet them in-person. Meeting in-person is a better way to establish a positive, communicative working relationship. It’s important to pay attention to their tardiness. During the visit, continue with the next set of questions.

  1. Can they show you pictures of similar projects?
  2. What permits do you need for the job-at-hand?
  3. How much of the work will be done by subcontractors?
  4. Do they have a good relationship with their subcontractors?
  5. Can they give you an itemized quote?
  6. How long do they think this project should take?
  7. What will the payment schedule be?

Get a Detailed Quote, Contract and Payment Plan

Your quote, contract and project timeline will be extremely important to your project. This is how you ensure that you are getting what you pay for and that nothing is left out.

The itemized quote should give you an exact idea of how much things will cost you. Depending on your project, you should see a break down that includes in detail every aspect of your project. Sometimes they will be outlined in general terms, but you can ask your contractor to clarify it and break it down further.

The contract should everything this project needs. It should a schedule, design documents (if any), insurance certificates, bond certificates (if any), the company contact, all materials to be used and the agreed-upon payment plan. It should also state who will be providing what for this project. 

The payment schedule must be decided before you enter a contract. Depending on your project, payment schedule usually starts with a progress report. You can determine together with your contractor on what the period of that report should be. Usually, progress reports are filed at the end of each month. If you have an architect working on your project, they get to review and approve the accuracy of these reports. Once approved, contractor sends you a bill with percentage of work completed. 

All-together, this process can seem daunting. However, the time you spend searching and the detail you put into your contract will be reflected in the final product. It would be a headache to work with someone you can’t rely on. You could find yourself with an unfinished remodel or a maxed-out budget. Allow yourself the time to do your research and ask the necessary questions.

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