Choose three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further conversation based on the phone interviews. A contractor should be able to effectively answer your inquiries in a manner that puts you at ease. Because this person will be in your home for hours at a time, we thinks it’s critical that you and this person communicate properly.On the other hand, don’t be fooled by a person’s personality. Before you employ a contractor, check with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have a history of conflicts with consumers or subcontractors.
Investigate the Facts
Put your research to work now that you’ve narrowed down your list. Inquire about previous clients’ projects and request to see the finished product. However, Tom advises against relying solely on the outcomes. Even more importantly, go to a current job site and observe the contractor in action. Is the construction site clean and safe? Are the workers respectful of the homeowner’s belongings?
Make Plans, Get Bids
You’ve narrowed down your choice of contractors to those with a good track record and a responsible work culture. It’s time to move on from your previous work and focus on your current project. A responsible contractor will require not just a thorough set of drawings, but also an understanding of what the homeowners want from the job and how much they intend to spend.Ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins, and other expenses to compare bids. Materials typically account for 40% of the overall cost; the remaining costs cover overhead and the normal profit margin of 15 to 20%.
Set a Payment Schedule
Another crucial advice for choosing a contractor is to plan ahead of time for payment. Payment schedules might reveal a contractor’s financial situation as well as his or her work ethic. They may have financial troubles or be concerned that you won’t pay the balance after you’ve seen the work if they want half of the bid up front. For large projects, a typical payment schedule includes 10% at contract signing, three payments of 25% evenly spaced across the project’s lifetime, and a check for the final 15% when you believe all items on the punch list have been finished.
Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide
Toss out the lowball offer. This contractor is most likely cutting corners or, worse, is in dire need of employment, neither of which is a good indicator in a robust economy. Comfort should play an equal or greater importance in your decision than technical proficiency. The ability of you and the contractor to communicate is the single most critical element in selecting a contractor. When selecting a contractor, it’s best to spend more and obtain someone you’re familiar with if all other factors are equal.
Put it in Writing
Create a contract that outlines every step of the project, including a payment schedule, proof of liability insurance, and worker’s compensation payments; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills). We assures you that insisting on a detailed contract isn’t motivated by mistrust. It’s all about making sure the renovation goes well.
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