Are you looking to give your home a bit of a facelift? Are you wondering how to hire a contractor? Renovating your house is an opportunity to change the look and feel of your home, optimize its functionality, or make more room to accommodate a growing family. If you’re taking on a renovation project, whether it’s to add an extension to your house, update your kitchen, or replace an old roof, don’t you want to make sure you’ve chosen the best person for the job? Don’t take a gamble when it comes to your home, because hasty decisions when choosing a contractor can result in major construction delays, unsatisfactory work, and most frighteningly, potential legal issues.
The first step of how to hire a contractor to suit your needs is to plan out your project. Pinterest, a social network where users “pin” items and looks that they love, is a great place to look for inspiration when it comes to home décor. Once you’ve collected visual aides to paint the picture of what you’re going for, it’ll be easier to communicate exactly what you want when you find your contractor.
Do you know someone who recently had their kitchen remodeled? What about your neighbor who recently had her home dormered? Asking your friends, family, or anyone you come across in your day-to-day may lead you to a really great contractor. If you know someone who has had work done that you find impressive, ask them for their contractor’s number. When people are happy with the work they’ve had done, they’re usually happy to hand over the contact info of whomever did the job. Online review sites are also a helpful source when you’re deciding how to hire a contractor, and can help you build a list (or cut down your existing list) so you know who to contact.
The next step should be to hire the first person who answers the phone, right? Absolutely not! Be sure to thoroughly interview potential contractors, because you’re entrusting your home to them. A phone call will suffice for initial interviews, but when you’ve settled on a couple of contractors whom you are interested in, you should schedule to meet with them in person. It’s helpful to write down a list of your questions and concerns prior to meeting with the candidates, to make sure that you get all the answers you need in order to make a decision.
Let out your inner Private Eye and do a little digging. There are so many potential liabilities when it comes to contracting projects, so one of the most important things you can confirm is that your contractor is licensed and insured. If your contractor isn’t, and one of his employees gets hurt at your home, you could be held liable! You’re well within your right to ask for your contractor’s license number and a proof of insurance, so be sure to do it. While you’re reviewing the material, check that the dates are still valid!
Just as an employer would check your references if you were applying for a job, hiring a contractor follows the same protocol. If your contractor does good work, he should be able to provide you with a list of satisfied customers. Any contractor who refuses to give you the names and numbers of people he’s worked for in the past might as well wave a big red flag in your face. After calling a few of the previous customers, you will have a better idea of whether or not this contractor is right for you.
If a contractor has made it this far, you’re likely confident that he’s legitimate, and you can trust him to do the job. Don’t jump just yet! Ask to see a sample of previous work he’s done, so you can get an idea of what to expect when your job is finished. Seeing previous jobs will show you the quality of his work. If you’re not impressed with what you see, you should probably return to the drawing board.
You’re almost finished! You’ve checked him out, he seems to be the real deal, and after seeing his work you start to imagine how your house will look when he’s through with it; all that’s left to do is sign on the dotted line. Whenever you get involved in a renovation project, you absolutely must get all of the details in writing. This includes an outline of the payment schedule, the contractor’s proof of insurance, a start date and projected end date, specific materials and products that will be used, and a requirement for the contractor to get lien releases from any suppliers or subcontractors who may also work on your renovation.
Last but not least, call your Homeowners Insurance provider to let them know about the work you’re having done. Depending on what’s involved, your policy may need to be adjusted. If the renovation is going to increase the value of your house, or you’re making certain structural changes, you want to be sure that you will still have the right amount of coverage.
We hope these tips on How to Hire a Contractor provided you with the help you need to get the ball rolling on your renovation project!