1. Get Recommendations
Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your sphere. You can besides talk with a build inspector, who ‘ll know which home renovation contractors routinely meet code requirements, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or pay a visit to your local anesthetic lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy choice materials and pay their bills on time .
2. Do Phone Interviews
once you ‘ve assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick margin call to each of your prospects and go through these questions to ask a contractor :
- Do they take on projects of your size?
- Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?
- Can they give you a list of previous clients?
- How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
- How long have they worked with their subcontractors?
The answers to these questions will reveal the company ‘s handiness, dependability, how much attention they ‘ll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.
3. Meet Face to Face
Based on the telephone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and far discussion. A contractile organ should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at facilitate. Tom says that it ‘s crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your dwelling for hours at a time. On the early hand, do n’t let personality horse around you. Check in with your express ‘s consumer security agency and your local anesthetic Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor to make sure they do n’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors .
4. Investigate the Facts
now that you ‘ve narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the eat up product. But Tom says you should n’t rely on results alone. tied more crucial, visit a current job web site and see for yourself how the contractile organ work. Is the job site neat and condom ? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner ‘s property ?
5. Make Plans, Get Bids
You have your short circuit number of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose exploit ethic looks responsible. now it ‘s fourth dimension to stop looking back at past solve and start looking forth to your project. A conscientious contractile organ will want not only a complete determined of blueprints but besides a smell of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, british labour party, net income margins and other expenses. Generally materials account for 40 percentage of the total cost ; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percentage.
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6. Set a Payment Schedule
Another authoritative lean for hiring a contractor is to workout a payment agenda ahead of time. requital schedules can speak to a contractor ‘s fiscal condition and work ethic. If they want half the bid up front, they may have fiscal problems or be worried that you wo n’t pay the rest after you ‘ve seen the work. For big projects, a schedule normally starts with 10 percentage at shrink sign, three payments of 25 percentage evenly spaced over the duration of the undertaking and a crack for the final 15 percentage when you feel every item on the punch tilt has been completed .
7. Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide
“ Throw out the lowball bid, ” says Tom. “ This contractile organ is probably cutting corners or, worse, desperate for exercise ” —hardly an promote sign in a healthy economy. Beyond technical competence, consolation should play an peer or greater role in your decision. The individual most crucial factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being peer, it ‘s better to spend more and get person you ‘re comfortable with when hiring a contractor.
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8. Put it in Writing
Draw up a sign that details every footstep of the stick out : payment schedule ; proof of indebtedness indemnity and worker ‘s compensation payments ; a starting signal date and projected completion date ; specific materials and products to be used ; and a prerequisite that the contractor obtain spleen releases ( which protect you if he does n’t pay his bills ) from all subcontractors and suppliers. Insisting on a unclutter contract is n’t about distrust, Tom assures us. It ‘s about insuring a successful renovation .
ultimately, remember that equally soon as a switch is made or a problem uncovered, the price just increased and the project merely got long. The four most expensive words in the english terminology ? “ While you ‘re at it …. ”
Looking for more aid with repairs around your home ? A home guarantee may help. Check out these in-depth guides from the This Old House Reviews team :