Home improvements are stressful more than most homeowners think. From the costs, the brand of the materials, schedules, and drawings, there’s just too much going on in every project.
But sometimes, the toughest part of any home improvement project is finding the right remodeling contractor. Choosing the ideal contractor for the job is a critical step in the planning process. You have to assess the quality of their work, explain the type of work needed, decide the project scope, and determine if the contractor has a license and insurance.
Safety is also another concern. You want to work with a contractor who’s aware of the right safety practices in the construction, use of materials, and workers’ health and safety. Are they aware of the safety policies? Do they have access to construction safety supplies?
If you’re looking to work with a contractor for a home improvement project, you may wonder where to begin. To help you, here are the three major considerations when choosing a contractor.
When searching for a contractor, start by doing preliminary research. While others rely too much on word-of-mouth referral, it’s important to do the screening yourself to make sure you’re hiring the right person. Just because someone did a great job renovating your neighbor’s kitchen doesn’t mean they’re also the right person to meet your home improvement needs.
Read customer reviews, visit the contractor’s website, and call them for an interview. Find out if they have certified licenses from local and state municipalities and designations from professional associations. General contractors and subcontractors should have licenses and insurance. Also, check the state licensing board to confirm if the license is in good standing.
Find contractors who passed comprehensive tests and invested in coursework to obtain certifications. But remember that not all credentials and certifications are the same. Do your homework by understanding the requirements. You will find this helpful if you’re looking for a contractor specializing in a particular home improvement project.
A certified contractor should provide the client with complete copies of their credentials, licenses, and documents about the subcontractors they regularly work with. All these things will help ensure the contractor meets all the standard qualifications. You may also check their reference and previous clients to filter out your search. Interview the clients who had the same project done in their house to know more about the contractor’s quality of work.
Once you have chosen the right contractor for your project, make sure you get a copy of the written contract signed by all parties. It should explicitly state the entire project outline in full detail, such as the blueprint, material, labor fees, licensing, lien releases, insurance, payment schedule, and the start and finish dates.
All these details will serve as a reference for homeowners when preparing the budget and sticking to a certain time frame. They can also use it as proof if they want to file a legal action against the contractor. Some homeowners get fooled by contractors by changing or adding the proposed costs while the construction is ongoing. The contract will provide full support to the client and ensure the contractor will not modify the plan for the sake of increasing the price.
Another tip is to work out the payment schedule with the contractor ahead of time. For example, you can begin the payment schedule at 10 to 20% for the signing, then proceed with two to three installments during the project duration and provide the final payment once the project finishes. But don’t settle the final payment not unless you’re delighted with the completed work and you have received all the lien releases and receipts.
In any business, maintaining professionalism is important. A contractor must exhibit good professionalism and communication from the get-go. This means they need to be reliable and exhibit a positive attitude.
Clients expect contractors to be always on time and finish jobs according to what they promised. Once a contractor shows any signs of acting unprofessionally and lowballing projects, the client will certainly remember all the negatives.
Communication and good rapport are also vital to client-contractor relationships. It’s important for clients that the contractor gets along with them throughout the project and knows how to listen and negotiate.
Home is where the heart is, so it makes sense to show your space some love. While it’s easy for you to perform simple repairs and projects, seeking a professional can make the job easier and save more time and money in the long run. Now you’re prepared to begin your search for a qualified contractor, we hope your next home improvement project will turn out successful!