Finding a good contractor can be a crucial step when you have a construction or renovation project. There are many contractors out there. Some are good and some not so much. Like most professions, contracting is something that gets better with experience. Until you install 100 doors you just don’t know how to get it exactly perfect every time. Finding a good contractor can be a daunting task. You hear horror stories about contractors from friends and family and it causes anxiety since you are planning to spend significant money on something you have to look at every day. A kitchen, a bathroom, your tile flooring etc. Here are some steps you can follow to find a reliable and skilled contractor:
- Define your project: Determine the scope and requirements of your project. This will help you communicate your needs effectively and ensure that potential contractors understand the job.
- Ask for recommendations: Seek recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues who have had positive experiences with contractors. Personal referrals can be valuable as you can trust the firsthand experiences of people you know. Plus you can easily go look at the work the contractor performed to assess the quality.
- Research online: Utilize online resources to find reputable contractors. If you can’t track down and personal referrals, websites like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and Houzz provide reviews and ratings from previous clients. Check their ratings, read reviews, and look for any red flags or recurring issues.
- Verify credentials: Make sure that the contractors you consider have the necessary licenses, certifications, and insurance to perform the work legally and safely. Check if they are registered with local trade organizations or professional associations. All of these credentials are very important to check out but insurance should be the most important. The last thing you want on your hands is a lawsuit. A reputable contractor should be able to produce all of this documentation within a day or 2 via e mail.
- Check experience and expertise: Look for contractors who have experience in projects similar to yours. A contractor who specializes in kitchen renovations may not be the best fit for a roofing project. Ask for examples of their past work or request a portfolio to assess their capabilities.
- Request multiple bids: Contact at least three contractors to request detailed bids for your project. Make sure the bids include the same scope of work and materials so you can compare them accurately. Always get 3 bids…ALWAYS!
- Conduct interviews: Schedule interviews or meetings with potential contractors to discuss your project in detail. Ask about their approach, timeline, subcontractors, and any concerns you may have. Pay attention to their communication skills and professionalism during these interactions.
- Check references: Ask the contractors for references of their previous clients. Reach out to these references and inquire about their experience working with the contractor. Ask about the quality of work, adherence to deadlines, communication, and overall satisfaction.
- Visit ongoing projects: If possible, visit a current project the contractor is working on. This allows you to see their workmanship, organization, and professionalism firsthand. It can give you a better idea of what to expect if you hire them.
- Review contracts carefully: Once you have selected a contractor, review the contract thoroughly before signing. Make sure that it includes all the project details, timeline, payment terms, warranty information, and any other important provisions. A good one to add would be a penalty to the contractor if they don’t finish on time. Another VERY important point is to not pay the contractor in full up front and to make sure the last portion of the payment is due only when work is 100% complete. Many people got burnt after Katrina for making both of those mistakes.
Finding a good contractor takes time and effort. As mentioned earlier, you are going to have to look at the work they perform on a daily basis so take the time to get it right. Avoid rushing into a decision and prioritize quality, reliability, and professionalism over low prices.