When a home improvement project job is too big for you to handle, it’s time to call in a professional home improvement contractor. But, if you hire the wrong contractor, it could cost you much more than you had planned to spend.
There are plenty of horror stories around contractors charging way more for a job than initially estimated. And many people have tales to tell of sub-quality home refurbishments that have taken forever to finish.
So, when you choose a contractor for any job, large or small, how can you ensure that you will get a quality job for a fair price? Here are ten tips to follow when you hire a contractor for your home improvement project.
1. Remember That You Get What You Pay For
A home remodeling project is not something that you want to do on the cheap.
If you merely pick the contractor with the lowest price you can find, you might find that shortcuts are taken, and the work may not be up to standard. Of course, you will need to find a contractor that can do the job within your budget.
However, hiring the cheapest home improvement contractor is not generally the best approach.
4. Meet the Contractor in Person Before Hiring
You are going to be letting a contractor into your home. Sometimes, the person you hire will be in your home for weeks or even months.
So, it is crucial that you feel comfortable with the contractor and their team.
The best way to find out if you will be able to get along with a contractor is to meet in person before signing a contract, and then let your instinct tell you if you can trust the individual or the company.
5. Find a Professional Home Improvement Contractor
Many home remodeling projects are now regulated and subject to building codes, so you must hire the right contractor for the job.
The days of hiring the local odd job guy who can turn their hand to anything are gone for all but the smallest home projects.
So, research contractors to make sure that they have experience in completing projects like yours, and ask contractors what relevant qualifications they have and to which trade associations they belong.
6. Hire an Insured, Bonded Contractor Licensed to Work in Your Area
A local license will ensure that the contractor is qualified to complete the job.
Hiring a bonded contractor will ensure that you are covered if the contractor fails to complete the work or doesn’t obtain the required permits, and insurance will cover you if the contractor causes injury to a person or damages your, or a neighbor’s, property.
7. Make Sure You Know Who Will Complete the Work
Contractors may subcontract some types of work to third parties. So, for your peace of mind, make sure you know who will be completing your home improvement project for you.
The use of specialist subcontractors is not necessarily a bad thing. If there is electrical work to be done, you will want a qualified electrician to do it.
However, it would be wise to ensure that any subcontractors your prime contractor hires are appropriately qualified and insured. Once again, this comes back to hiring a home improvement contractor you can trust.
8. Look At Pictures of Their Previous Work
It’s important to see examples and photographs of their work beforehand.
That way, you will know that their quality is a good fit.
Browse examples of their work on their website, and see if you like what you see.
What style are you looking for: modern, rustic, or somewhere in between?
Be sure to find someone who can achieve the style and aesthetic you are going for.
9. Create a Plan for Your Vision
Always have a basic outline of the work you’d like to have done before you hire a home improvement contractor of any kind. Once you choose a contractor, your contract should contain an estimate of the cost and an approximate timescale for the project.
For large home remodeling projects, the contract should also include plans and drawings. Your contractor can help you with this. If you’d like, you can even specify what brands of products will be used. A fair contract will set the expectations and protect both you and the contractor. So, the more detailed the agreement, the better.
9. Ask What Your Responsibilities Will Be
Professional contractors will do their utmost to minimize the disruption to your home and your family. However, home improvements or remodeling projects will require your cooperation. You may need to be at home at a specific time to let the contractor into your home, for example.
Or you may need to move furniture out of a room. It would be best to ask your contractor what will be required from you to complete the project successfully so that there are no misunderstandings.
What you need to do will usually be covered at a pre-project meeting with your chosen contractor.
10. Choose A Local Contractor If Possible
Finally, it is generally best to choose local contractors for home improvement work.
Contractors rely on local word of mouth recommendations, so they will not want to have a disgruntled local customer.
A local contractor will be onto the remedial work much faster too.
The crucial point to take away from this article is that it would be advisable not to take shortcuts when hiring a home improvement contractor. Get a quote, do your research, and ask the relevant questions.
It’s your home, so it is worth hiring the best contractor for all your home improvement and remodeling projects.
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