Remodeling projects are usually a headache for most homeowners. Unless you are an expert in the field, it is likely that you do not have the required knowledge for big construction projects, particularly when a lot is riding on it, i.e. your investment in your home. Hiring a contractor is a smart idea, especially if you are not familiar with even the simplest of home projects. Even the greatest do-it-yourselfers make mistakes, and that is something you want to avoid when you have a huge chunk of cash involved in a project. When you remodel on your own, you open up a huge can of worms that could end up haunting you forever; when projects are not done properly or correctly the first time around, you will encounter future expense to correct the issues. Doing it right the first time is the biggest reason to hire a contractor. When you decide to take the plunge, what are the most important things to look for when choosing a general contractor? Here are a few guidelines to adhere to that will help you find professional contractors in your area who will execute the task at hand with expertise.
Consult with the people you know
First and foremost, you will want to consult with others you know who have hired contractors before for home projects. Not all contractors are created equal; some just want to get the project done quickly, and can leave behind structural or design issues for you to deal with. You will want to find contractors who will work with you from the beginning—the design phase, where a lot of the engineering should be addressed first. Designing projects takes as much expertise as execution, and you do not want to short-change yourself; again, in the long run you will regret it. Getting referrals from friends, family, trusted colleagues, and other professionals in the design, remodeling, or contracting field is one way to find the best deals, and the highest level of professionalism that you expect.
Have a concrete goal & ask questions
If you want to know more about the contractors that you are considering, it is best to be organized and know what you want out of the experience. Having concrete end goals in mind is a great way to convey your desires to potential contractors. Writing questions down for them is a great way to make sure you cover all the bases that concern you. If you have a solid list of referrals, it is a great idea to consult with each of them individually, and have your questions answered. Our intuition should never be underestimated—if you get a bad vibe from a contractor, or they dismiss your questions, it is probably not a great idea to work with them. Customer service is huge—and the initial phases of getting to know more about a business can tell you a lot about the manner in which they deal with their customers. After all, you will be consulting with them for the foreseeable future on the projects, and your opinion is the most important one. You should be sure to ask questions about the size of the project, past experience in the field, and ask for a list of resources or subcontractors they use.
Check the companies online
Besides referrals from friends and family, you can also look into the company online. Look specifically for what other people that you do not know have to say about the company, and what their track record looks like. If there is a general consensus that they provide good, solid work at affordable prices, you may ask, what else is there to look for? However, online reviews are not everything—keep in mind that these can sometimes be exaggerated versions of people’s experiences, good or bad. Getting more information from institutions and agencies regarding the companies history is also an important step before you trust them with your livelihood, your home. The Better Business Bureau is a good place to begin. When you finally land on a good option for a general contractor, make sure they have all the proper licensing requirements and are willing to disclose any information you ask for regarding their certifications, and whatever you do, never settle for less.