How to Choose the Right Contractor

Introduction

These instructions will provide you with a set of steps for selecting the right contractor for your home renovation project. Intended for people ready to make significant improvement to their residential property. Below you will find a carefully designed list of steps to guide you to the right contractor. 

Six Step Process

Do your Due Research (BEFORE YOU GET ANY ESTIMATES)

  • Make a list of necessary upgrades that you need to have done. Explore ideas and options.
  •  Research how much your project will cost. -- Plan & Budget so that you don’t end up choosing your contractor based solely off of the lowest bid. You often get what you pay for. A happy mix of pricing, quality, and timing makes for a project that you will love.
  • Research the steps involved. -- Ask if any of the spaces in your home have to be inaccessible or decommissioned for a while. Timing is extremely important with bathroom and kitchen renovations.  
  • Plan how you will handle payment. -- Do you need Financing? Ask your contractor how he prefers to get paid. As a rule of thumb you SHOULD NEVER make a payment in full before any work takes place. It is common practice for residential contractors to need half down before the project and the rest upon completion.  

Research 5 Contractors

  • Check to see if the contractor is license, bonded, and insured. (Ask for proof of each)


  • Meet & Greet (When you contractor comes over to evaluate your project) -- Ask questions, get a feel for how knowledgeable the contractor is. Last thing you want to hear from your contractor is yes, yes, yes... without any discussion about cause and effect. Ask if he or she plans to sub-contract any parts of the job and who the sub-contractors are. As a note it is normal for some contractors to sub-contract the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, so don’t be alarmed.


  • Reliability – Experience -- Is your contractor easily accessible? In the beginning of a major remodel you and your contractor will have to meet often to select your finish products. (Colors, materials, etc.) Sometimes you will need to get a hold of your contractor quickly in case  of an emergency. Find out how long the company has been in business. Is your contractor in good finical standings? Stories like the one Betty Watson experienced and wrote about in her book titled It Takes “Jack” to Build a House is all too common. Contractors bankrupt their companies abandoning liability from projects they have received payment on and start another firm under another name.


  • Check References and Read Reviews -- Reference are good right? Not always the case, companies post and show reviews from customers that they know will give great feedback. Check their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter etc.). Sometimes customers aren’t afraid to post negative feedback on the company’s profile.


  •  Warranty -- Make sure your contractor offers a warranty on labor. Five months down the road the last thing you want to do is pay for a contractor mistake or for the installation of a defective product in your new renovation. 

Call 3 Contractors to Receive Bids From

  • Keep “Step 2” in mind while the contractors make their visit’s to assess your project.

Use the "Contractor Selection Sheet"  (Available Below)

  • Contractor Selection Sheet available at the bottom of this page

Make Your Selection

  • Tally up your results from the “Contractor Selection Sheet” and make your selection.

Review your Completed Project

  • Finally asses the quality of your project.
  • Make assessments about your contractor. -- Make notes about what you liked and/or didn't like about the contractor you selected.

Definitions

What does being licensed mean?       

ANSWER: Being licensed by your local government to engage in construction.

 

What does being bonded mean?

ANSWER: Being bonded means that a bonding agency has secured your contractor in case of an event in which the contractors doesn't finish the job or a mistake is made and protects the homeowner.

 

What does being insured mean?       

ANSWER: Being insured protects the homeowner in case one of your contractor’s employees is hurt on the job and protects the homeowner from liability.

 

Contractor Selection Sheet.pdf
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Contractor Selection Sheet.docx
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