How To Hire A General Contractor: The Do’s And Don’t
In recent years, do-it-yourself projects have become quite popular. Everyone want to save money by taking on these projects like home renovation and constructing small additions to your home. Whether you want to install a closet, repair some leaking pipe, or build shelves, there are many things that you may be able to end up doing yourself. But not everything is a DIY project. If you do not have the necessary knowledge to do something properly, you may end up wasting your time on a project which will require you to hire something to redo it anyways. Plus, there are a lot of domains where you simply cannot do things by yourself, either because you need specific permits, like for anything that touches electric current, or because you do not have the necessary tools or hardware.
In those cases, you usually end up having to hire a general contractor, especially if it is a big project. There are many contractors out there willing to do all sorts of projects for you and your home, but they are not all the same. In fact, there are many different features about each of them, some may be better than others, and some may be specialized in particular areas. Thus it is important that you know what to look for when you want to hire them, and you have to ask the right questions when you first talk to them. Here is a list of things you should do, and things you want to avoid.
In order to find the right contractor, you are not alone. You should not simply go out to the phone book and call whoever has the biggest ad. Instead, it pays to do a bit of research. Spending some extra minutes now in order to find the right contractor is very useful if that saves you having to redo the work because it was poorly done, or worse, getting scammed by them. One place you can look is your local home center, business office, or even home hardware stores. They handle these kinds of projects all the time, and may well know who to recommend. Another place you can look is online, on review sites like Yelp. There you can read reviews and comments from users, and find out whether they were satisfied. Either way, almost make sure you hire a company that has been around for a while. Do not simply hire someone you meet who has no background and where you have no way to confirm how long they have been in business.
If your project requires specific licenses, like for heating, electricity, sewage and so on, make sure your contractor knows the city regulations and has the proper permits. You can contact the local association that handles these types of licenses, and see whether they know about the person or company you want to hire. At the same time, you can also contact your BBB office to know whether there were complaints about this contractor. When you talk to them and it is time for a quote, make sure you get a printed estimate. In fact, if you do not know how much the work should cost, you should get estimates from several contractors. These estimates should be free in most cases.
When it is time to sign a contract, you need to make sure everything is written down, including the exact price with everything included, the date of delivery, detailed description of what is to be done, and penalties if the work is late or not up to par. Verbal promises are not worth much, and it is far better to have a written contract in case something bad happens. You should also ask for visual confirmation of the contractor’s licenses, permits and proof of insurance, and not just take their word for it.
While the contract is being done, if they start asking for delays or more money, do not give in, and stick to the contract. If the contractor agreed to something, then you should expect them to deliver on what was written down. Remember that the contractor who offers you the lowest price may not be the best choice. It can be hard to know in advance whether you will encounter issues when working with someone, but thankfully if you can get enough references, then you should be safe enough. Still, that does not mean nothing bad will happen.
To ensure everything goes well, make sure payment is done in steps. They may ask for part of it at the start, but insist on wanting to pay them as the work gets done. You can set landmarks where you will pay a certain percentage as the work gets completed. If there is a problem, then you may have to resort to the court system. Before you spend money there however, make sure you give them every opportunity to fix the issue, and then if it is a low enough amount, consider using the small claims court. They are typically much less expensive and faster to render judgment.
Hopefully with these tips you now have what you need to get the best contractor you can for your project, and you will not be left stranded if something bad happens. By following these do’s and don’t, you will ensure that you are both protected, and do everything you can to make sure you select the best possible general contractor you can.