6 Rules to Follow When Hiring a Contractor

Having a renovation done on your home can be one of the most exciting times when planned out properly, however if protocols aren’t followed and the wrong contractors are hired your dream addition or renovation can quickly turn into a nightmare.  Securing the right contract for the job can be one of the most important factors and choices you can make in the process.   Follow these 5 steps when hiring a contractor to get the best value on your next home or office project.

Talk with others that have hired contractors

Speaking with others that you already trust is a no brainer.  This can be family, neighbors, friends, and real estate agents who have already used someone and can review their work first hand from start to finish.  These are golden reviews from people that you trust and who have seen the contractors work first hand.

Verify licenses and background information

Never overlook this step.  Make sure your contractor has the proper licenses in place and it is in good standing with the state license board.    Not only should you make sure he or she has the correct licenses in place, but you should also check to make sure they have a contractors pocket license, and certificate of insurance.

We also recommend that you protect yourself a step further on run your own public record check on the potential contractor.  You can find public records using many methods and there are many online criminal record search services that will provide these services for a minimal fee.  This is a quick and worthwhile step you should take.

Check references out

Ask the contractor for a list of references you can look at.  Next contact previous clients and ask about their experience with the contractor.   They can tell you a lot good and bad about their experiences with the contractor.

  • Did they seem like the contractor was fair?
  • How was communication?
  • How was scheduling and budget of the work that was completed?
  • Was it nice working with the contractor?
  • How were issues handled?
  • How was the quality of the work performed?

View recent work

Ask for the contractor’s portfolio to look at recent and past work.  Then request to visit a few projects that may be similar to the work you’re wanting to get done.  When viewing these projects keep in mind a few things.  Does the work still look good and has it withstood the test of time if it’s an older project.   If it is a project that hasn’t been finished take the time to look at the work site itself. Is it a complete mess?  Or our things neat and in order?  You can learn a lot by observing a work site.

Fully understand the contract

Make sure to fully understand the contract before you hire the contractor.  Ask to see a one so you can review it.  Permits may take a little time to get so this is a good time to review these contracts and do not sign anything until all permits have been approved and costs have been finalized.  If you have been through a new build or rebuild you know that there will be unforeseen cost associated with the project, don’t worry this is normal and you should expect to see anywhere from 5 to 10% of a budget.

Follow your gut

Remember to follow your gut.  If you feel like something is off then it probably is.  There are a lot more good contractors then shady ones.  Remember if you’re not comfortable with a contractor don’t sign paper work, move on and find someone you trust and who you are comfortable with.  Investing this time upfront will save you a lot of work and money down the line.

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