Planning a home improvement project any time in the near future? Unless you happen to be handy with tools and have the time to turn your house into a dream home, you’ll probably be working with a contractor. The most important part of working with a contractor is finding the right one for your home improvement project.
Preplan Your Project
Take the time to plan every detail of your project. You should know exactly what you want before you even start looking for contractors. Whether you’re planning to remodel your bathroom, add a room, lay new flooring, or remodel your kitchen, you should know exactly what you want done and how you want it done. If you plan to remodel your kitchen, know what kind of wood you want for your cabinets, the type of tiles you want on the floor, and the material and color of the countertops you envision.
Once you have a specific design in mind, and know what materials you want to use, a professional contractor can accurately cost out the job and bid accordingly. If you are unclear about what you want, the contractor cannot give you an accurate cost for your project. You may end up paying significantly more than the original bid.
Find the Right Contractor
There are a number of ways to find a contractor. You can thumb through your local phone directory, check the internet, or ask friends and family members for recommendations. If possible, get recommendations based on work done by contractors from family and friends. You will at least get a chance to see the quality of work the contractor produces.
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of potential contractors, you can begin the bidding process. You should get at least three bids for your home improvement project. Do not automatically select your contractor based on the bid amount. This is especially true if one of the bids is significantly lower than the other two bids. The contractor may have misunderstood the scope of work to be done. Or, at worst, a bid that is too low may indicate substandard work on the part of the contractor.
Verify the Contractor’s License and Insurance
Make sure the contractor you intend to hire is licensed and insured. All states have a contractor’s licensing board where you can check the contractor’s credentials. However, requirements for being a licensed contractor may vary from state-to-state.
Insurance is another very important deciding factor in hiring the right contractor. Be sure the contractor has liability insurance. If he has employees, be sure he also has worker’s compensation. If he does not have liability insurance or workers compensation, you may be liable for any personal injury or property damage incurred on your property.
Another important step to take before hiring your contractor is to request referrals and then check them out. The time it takes to make a few phone calls could save you time, money, and frustration later on.
Take the time to hire the right contractor for your home improvement project so your dream home doesn’t become a construction nightmare.