When the size of your home remodeling project is more than you can handle in a weekend, it’s time to start searching for a local contractor to hire for the project. If you’ve never worked with a contractor before, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that you choose wisely.
Characteristics like experience and reputation are important when you choose a contractor, but those features are essential for virtually any professional from a doctor to a lawyer to a teacher. One of the easiest ways to determine the quality of your contractor is to speak with past clients.
You might ask a potential contractor for references who will offer commentary on their experiences with the contractor. You can also read online review site, but bear in mind that some of those sites aren’t always completely accurate.
Questions to Ask During the Phone Interview
Asking questions of your future contractor is important, but what’s even more important is asking the right questions. It’s a good idea to get into the specifics of the project to determine whether the contractor has experience in the right area.
Some of the questions you may want to ask include:
- How many simultaneous projects does the contractor usually have?
- How many years has the contractor worked with his or her subcontractors?
- Are there any previous clients willing to offer a recommendation?
- How many projects of your type has the contractor completed?
- What suppliers does the contractor use for projects?
You might forget a few questions while you’re on the phone with your contractor, so you might want to write these questions down, as well as any other questions that you think will help you make a decision about your contractor.
Ensure a Face-to-Face Meeting and Inspection
A reputable contractor will always agree to meet with you in person before starting a project and getting into topics like budgeting, design, and timelines. A meeting with a contractor doesn’t necessarily mean you must choose them for your project. Your best move would be to treat the meeting like an interview, and the contractor ought to be able to answer any questions you have about his or her experience and your future project.
After interviewing potential contractors, you can follow up on those interviews by contacting the Better Business Bureau and any local consumer protection agencies with information on local businesses. You’ll want to make sure the contractor you choose doesn’t have outstanding disputes with past clients.
Ask Contractors for Bids on the Project
The price of your home renovation isn’t the most important factor in your choice of contractor, but the price can have an impact on your final choice. You might think of bids as an activity for commercial building owners, but residential homeowners can also request bids from potential contractors.
The pros at This Old House describe how to ask for bids from contractors:
“To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally, materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.”
Budgeting your project at a cost you can afford is the most important way to ensure your contractor can finish your project on time and without any issues regarding the cost of supplies and labor.
Another consideration that may influence your choice of contractor is the way in which the project’s payments will be scheduled. If the project is large enough, your contractor may design a contract where a certain percentage of the project’s cost will be due at set intervals. The contract is an essential document between you and your contractor, and it’s important to read and understand the contract before you sign and finalize the start of work.
Plan Your Next Home Remodeling Project with Gettum Associates
If you’re searching for a contractor in the Indianapolis area, contact Gettum Associates, Inc., and make sure to download our free eBook: Seven Questions to Ask When Choosing a Remodeler in the Indianapolis Area.