Even if you’re the handiest person and enjoy do it yourself projects, there will inevitably come a time when you need to hire a general contractor. Whether it’s removing a load bearing wall, or gutting and remodeling a kitchen, you want to make sure it’s done right and you want to feel comfortable with the company that’s doing it.
Finding a contractor can be tough, especially if you don’t know one personally, or haven’t worked with someone you like before. When you start to look, it will most likely be from referrals of friends, but even still, you’ll probably want to check them out for yourself online. With the start of your search, and ultimately finding a contractor to do the renovation or remodeling work you need, there are some helpful tips you can follow.
There are certainly some important things to look for when hiring a contractor to do work on your home. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a good experience with someone you feel comfortable working with during your project.
First and foremost, make sure they are licensed and insured. If you’re hiring someone to do a major renovation on your house then this is a must, it’s not just a helpful tip. In the paragraph above I used the example of removing a load bearing wall. That’s a structural part of your home, which if done incorrectly, could cause a lot of damage. The last thing you want, is to find out the person or company you hired wasn’t properly insured or licensed.
Ask for references or look for reviews and testimonials. If you don’t have a close personal friend to ask about a contractor, the next best things are references, testimonials and reviews. There are flaws in each of these messages because they could carry a certain bias from either the reviewer or the person publishing selected testimonials. But they can be helpful, because you can get a lot of useful information about how a contractor dealt with issues, kept on budget, finished a project on time, etc… By reading a variety of information or reaching out to different references, you can get a pretty good feeling about how the contractor will align with you.
Ask to see pictures of their past work, or look at their website for project images. Contractors should be happy to provide pictures to show off their work. If they don’t want to, or don’t have any pictures, you might want to ask yourself why. Pictures are worth a thousand words and you certainly want to see the quality and craftsmanship of their work so you know what to expect when you hire them to do you your project. It’s also very helpful to see pictures because it can help with your own project ideas. Maybe you hadn’t thought about adding a stone backsplash to your kitchen, but looking at pictures you can see how big of a difference it makes.
Fourth: Make sure you feel comfortable working with the contractor. Sometimes you might meet a contractor to give you an estimate and you just don’t have a great feeling about them. They could be doing a major renovation on your home, so a gut feeling and comfort with the contractor is important. If it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. You’re going to have this person in your home, trusting them to do a good job, so if your gut doesn’t feel right, check what you had for dinner the night before, then think about if that feeling is coming form somewhere else.
By following the tips above, you should end up with a good contractor and a good experience in your home renovation. Remember to ask questions, feel comfortable about what work is being done, and define the expectations from both parties along the way.