How to Find the Right Contractor for Your Home Improvement

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A small, medium, or large construction project can become a very frustrating experience for home or business owners if they do not choose the correct contractor for the job.  You want a competent and reliable contractor to complete the job for projects such as mounting kitchen cabinets, taking down a wall, or retiling the bathroom. 

Even with good contractors, renovations can be stressful, and you want to make sure that you hire a contractor that completes an excellent job from start to finish, and completes the job on time and budget. Choosing the right contractor will make a difference between a successful home renovation and a disaster. 

Sometimes, homeowners with renovation experience will work on their own and hire general contractors, or specific tradespeople for each job, such as concrete contractors for an outside pathway. While this might save money, it can be time-consuming and will mean multiple contractor searches instead of just one. 

However, either way you choose to go, some steps can be taken to find the right contractor for your home improvement projects and keep your budget under control. Here’s some tips for finding the right contractor:

Know the renovations you want before getting estimates.

You need to start with a plan and ideas before you even talk to contractors. Estimates will be more accurate from contractors if you can be specific on the items you want to renovate and the material you wish to use. 

As friends, relatives, and co-workers for contractors they’ve used before.

People you know that have had similar work done by contractors and are happy with the outcome are good references to ask about finding tradespeople to do your renovations.

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Call at least three contractors for pricing.

Ask questions and get written quotes from each contractor.  Make sure each quote contains the same materials and tasks. Don’t be afraid of negotiating jobs and prices.

Be prepared that the job won’t start right away.

Excellent contractors usually are busy contractor, meaning they won’t be starting your renovation project right away. It could be weeks to months before they potentially could start your home improvement project.

Ask how much of the work will be contracted out to subcontractors.

You want to make sure that the contractor has quality employees working for them and isn’t using general laborers off the street. 

Pick the right contractor for the right projects.

Someone who pours concrete, isn’t necessarily going to be the right contractor for tiling your bathroom or adding a new addition in the kitchen. You want to find the correct contractors for the projects you need done. 

Search licenses, complaints, or any litigation history of a potential contractor.

General contractors and subcontractors should be licensed, although it varies state to state. Check the Better Business Bureau and local court records for any reports on problems with the contract. 

Review references.

Talk to clients of the contractors who can give you a detailed account of the work done by the contractor and if they were satisfied with the job, budget and time. Check for online reviews or testimonials.

When you’ve decided on a contractor, make sure you are signing a detailed contract that outlines exactly what you agree to, including the job that will be done, deadlines, progress payments, material that are going to be used, and who is providing the materials. Once the contract is signed, don’t pay more than ten percent of the job before it starts. The contract should include a payment schedule in it. 

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It’s crucial to ensure the proper permits and insurance coverage apply to your home improvement project. You will also want to set ground rules, such as hours that the contractor can work in your home, bathrooms they can use, and cleaning up every workday. Keep up communications with the contractor, and if you see a potential issue, you need to address it immediately to have the matter rectified.

You want to make sure you are going into business with someone with integrity. The contract is not going to be airtight, and the home improvement project will not be problem-free, so you need to be sure that the contractor you are hiring has a good track record and is able to maintain a close, trustworthy relationship throughout the entire process of home renovation project.

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