Hiring a contractor to do a home improvement project can be intimidating. Taking the proper steps, asking the right questions, and understanding where to find the answer to your question will make the process in finding a quality contractor easier. Aiming to lead you in the right direction in hiring the right contractor, listed below is a guide to help you make the intimidating process in hiring a contractor a great experience.
The key steps in finding a quality contractor for your home improvement needs are as followed:
• Avoid scams
• Search for a quality contractor
• Interview your prospects
• Check references
• Discuss payment options
• Write a contract
There is a scam out there for most transactions these days, hiring a contractor can be one of those transactions. Simply put, don’t sign a document without reading it thoroughly. Don’t agree to a home equity loan if you can’t afford the payments, don’t deed your property to anybody; don’t agree to financing without doing your homework. More importantly, if the deal sounds too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true.
Search for a quality contractor
Searching for a quality contractor can be a job in itself. Seek recommendations from friends, family members, or the local lumber yard. Make sure the contractor has a listing in the local phone directory as well. Once you have a list of contractors to choose from you can proceed to the interviewing process
Interview your prospects
The answers you receive when interviewing a contractor are just as important as the rapport you have with the contractor. During the interview find out how long they’ve been in business, make sure they have their contractor’s license with the state you reside in, will you need any permits for the project, will subcontractors be used, and find out what type of insurance the contractor uses along with what the insurance covers. The more information you gain the better.
Request references from your prospective contractors. When checking references, ask questions in regards to their performance, if there were added cost, if the project took longer then expected, and make sure their reference would hire them again if needed. Some references may let you see the work that was done at their home, so ask if you can stop by at their convenience.
Discuss payment options
Discussing payment options will help you in several ways. If the contractor asks for half the money up front, there is probably a problem and you may want to choose another contractor. According to How to Hire a Contractor by Tom Silva, a general rule for “large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been completed.” It’s good to never pay with cash as well.
Write a contract
Writing a contract out is the most important step in hiring a contractor to work on your home. According to FTC.gov your written contract should include the contractor’s personal information as well as their license number, payment schedule, and the start and completion dates. The contract should include that the contractor is responsible for obtaining any permits needed to finish the project, the cost of materials should be listed, and warranty information, the contractor’s obligations, and an agreement of at least 3 business days should be specified in regards to your right to cancel. Any added oral agreements should be added to this contract as well.
This can be a lot of information to take in, but it is crucial that no stone is left unturned when hiring a contractor. The proper research, the right questions asked, and getting a contract in writing will help to ensure a job well done with your home improvement needs.