Finding a good contractor is the key to a successful home construction or renovation project. The right contractor will ensure the result is what you wanted, and they will be experienced enough that you won’t have to worry about paying for money for mistakes along the way. That’s why you need to know what to look for when hiring a contractor.
When it comes to your home, we know you would be looking for someone who can take on a big project and deliver what they promised initially. To achieve this, your first step should be trying to find potential options and not hiring a contractor to build a house or do some repairs without getting to know them.
The best way to start is with referrals. If you are lucky enough to have recommendations from family and friends, you are halfway done. However, if no one near you has ever taken over a project of this magnitude, you can look up reviews online. Read what past clients are saying to make sure, in the end, you are hiring someone trustworthy.
One of the main things you should keep in mind is that even when you hire a contractor with a good reputation, you can prevent any misunderstanding by writing everything down. In the contract, you want to be clear about what they would do, their schedule, costs, payment, insurance, and what would happen if they don’t meet the deadline.
Now we will look at other tips for hiring a contractor that will help you make the right decision.
Hiring a contractor checklist
In this checklist, you will find several tips for hiring a contractor, and at the bottom of the post, we will also give you a list of questions to ask when hiring a contractor.
1. Have several bids
After getting several referrals from your family or online through some directories, you must reduce that list to the top three contractors you like the most. Then get estimates from all of them. Once you have all the information in your hands, compare the materials they will use, timelines, and how they will approach the project.
Your contractor must understand the plan’s primary objective from the start since this will allow them to do a proper resource allocation. To know more about why resource allocation in construction projects matter and which steps you should follow, go to Bridgit.
Ultimately you will get a range of prices from every contractor. Don’t go right away for the least expensive one. Allow yourself to explore all the options.
2. Licensed contractors
If you ask somebody in the construction industry what to look for when hiring a contractor, most of them will answer that you should check if they have a license. The advantage of hiring a licensed contractor is that if there are issues with the end result or something goes wrong, it is easier to get in touch with them.
In case you have the opportunity to hire a local, go for it. It is vital to make sure your contractor has a local address, and it is even better if you can visit their facilities before signing a contract. Do not trust contractors who simply go door-to-door.
3. Check-in with past clients
We already mentioned this within our initial hiring contractor tips, but it deserves another mention. Reviews and referrals will save you tons of time when hiring a contractor for your home renovation. If you have the opportunity to check out their workmanship, do it.
For instance, if some of your friends have recently renovated their home, and they recommended a contractor. You can ask them to show you the final result. This way, you will have first-hand information.
A contractor with more than five years of experience would be the perfect pick for any type of job.
4. Don’t rush the decision
Sometimes with big projects such as a renovation, you can get excited about seeing the final product that you could rush through this decision. Remember, you should take your time, check the prices, read the contract, and be sure 100% that this is the person you want to work with before signing.
5. Ask how insurance works
One of the main hiring contractor tips is never to sign a contract with a contractor that does not have insurance cover. Insurance is extremely important in case an accident happens while the contractor is working on your project.
If you ask your potential contractor their insurance details and they give you all the information you need, that’s a step in the right direction.
6. Clear Contract
This is the second time we are mentioning this within our hiring a contractor checklist. However, there are some elements you should keep in mind during this process. First, the contract should always include a complete description of the project and all the costs. The start and completion dates, payment schedule, cancellation clause, and any changes you make along the way.
If you have access to a lawyer, you might want to ask them if they can take a quick look at the contract and let you know if there is anything wrong.
7. Be careful with paying upfront
Do not pay up the whole project before it is completed. In most construction plans, they handle a one-third payment. This means your initial payment would be one-third of the overall cost. Keep the receipt for every payment you make.
Don’t forget you have a cancellation window where you won’t have to pay any penalties if you back down from the project.
Questions to ask when hiring a contractor
These questions directly relate with all the tips we have given you for hiring a contractor to build a house or do a renovation.
- How long have you been in the industry?
- How much experience do you have regarding the project we are thinking about?
- Do you have a list of past clients or references?
- Do you have a license and insurance?
- When can you start the project?
What to look for when hiring a contractor
Renovating or constructing a house are big projects that involve many factors. If you follow our hiring a contractor checklist, you won’t feel overwhelmed in the process, and everything will be worth it at the end because you will get what you imagine.
A final tip: follow your instincts!