When it comes to home improvement, it is important that things are done safely and with the most attention to detail. When many people start a new home improvement project, they often try to take the project on themselves.
For small projects and for those who have the skills and experience necessary, this is a great idea. But for large-scale projects or for those who don’t have a lot of home improvement experience, you may want to consider hiring a professional contractor.
Read on to learn some tips on how to find the best contractors for your home improvement project.
Understand the Overall Scope of Your Project
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Before you begin contacting potential contractors, you should make sure that you have a clear understanding of your project, including the basic materials and services it may require.
Understanding important details like this will help you avoid some contractors manipulating you into unneeded costly additions. Plus, it will help you communicate your project clearly and effectively to the contractor to carry out.
Try to start thinking about whether you will require one general contractor or several subcontractors to carry out specific tasks and sections of a project.
Ask for References from People You Trust
One of the best ways to go about finding the best contractor or contractors for your next home improvement project is to ask for suggestions from people you know and trust. You can turn to friends, family, and co-workers and ask them if they know any local contractors that they have worked with in the past.
Local trade-specific stores and their employees are also a good place to turn to. You can ask them what it was like working with specific individuals or teams and start to develop questions to ask in person.
Look into the Professional Backgrounds of Potential Contractors
Personal discussion about potential contractors from friends and family will always be indispensable resources. You will also want to evaluate the professional standing of all potential contractors.
Make sure that their official licenses and training are all up to date before you make any hiring decisions. In addition, conduct some research to see if they have any history of litigation or complaints with past clients.
Some resources to turn to for this include the Better Business Bureau, local court records, and various disciplinary boards. Contractor Training Center is another resource to learn about requirements and courses for contractors across various states. You can learn more info on their website.
Interview and Compare Contractors
When it comes to how many contractors you should interview before you decide to select one, there is no magic number. It is different for every project and for you as an individual.
You should interview the amount that you feel comfortable with and that you will feel will provide you with the most information. However, many people agree that a good minimum is three.
During the interviews, make sure that you retrieve a written bid and that you ask several questions. Then you can compare responses and bids side by side.
Pay Attention to How a Potential Contractor Asks for Money
When you begin the process of working with a contractor, it is typically an ongoing process of payments and action. Sometimes, a contractor will ask for a portion of payments before they officially start a project.
Typically, a good rule of thumb is not to pay more than ten percent of the total cost before a project starts. It can vary on a case by case basis though, especially if a contractor needs to purchase expensive materials or supplies ahead of time.
Look for Someone Who Communicates Clearly
One of the most important qualities that you can look for in any potential contractor is their ability to communicate. You want to find someone who follows up with you and who will be reliable when you need them.