Whether you’re looking to hire a plumber, flooring expert or general contractor, there are definitely things to consider before doing so. The following are some recommendations to help your renovation run a bit smoother.
Its always a good idea to start by asking your friends and family. You can also talk with a building inspector, who will know which contractors routinely meet code requirements. Also, visit your local lumber yard. The associates there regularly see contractors and know which contractors buy quality materials as well as those that pay their bills timely.
Do Phone Interviews
Once you have assembled your prospect list, make a call to each and ask them the following questions:
- Do they take on projects of your size?
- Are they willing to provide financial references, such as from suppliers?
- Can they provide a list of previous clients?
- How long have they worked with their subcontractors?
Answers to these questions will provide information on their availability, reliability, the attention they will be willing to provide to your job as well as how smoothly the work will go and the timely completion of the job.
Meet Face to Face
Based on your telephone interviews, select three to four contractors to interview in person. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner in which it puts you at ease. At the same time, do not let personality fool you. Contact the Better Business Bureau to verify contractors do not have a history of disputes with clients or their subcontractors.
Set A Payment Schedule
Payment schedules often times will speak to the contractor’s financial status and work ethic. Be cautious if they want half the bid up front: it could possibly mean they are experiencing financial troubles or perhaps they are afraid you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen their work. Large projects usually start with a down payment of 10% of thee contract value, three payments of 25% spaced over the duration of the project and a the final payment of 15% after you feel they have completed all the punch list items.
Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide
Throw out the low-ball bid. These type of contractors often times try to cut corners. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal to or greater role in your decision making. The single most important factor should be the level of communication between you and the contractor. All things being equal, its better to spend a little more on the job and be comfortable with the chosen contractor than the alternative.
Lastly, Put It In Writing
Draw up a contract detailing every aspect of the project: payment schedule, proof of insurance, including worker’s comp insurance, start and finish dates, products and materials to be used as well as a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases, that will protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills, from all suppliers and subcontractors. Insisting on a clear contract doesn’t speak to mistrust but rather insuring a successful renovation.
S&S Restoration – 760.559.2667