Contractor talks with new home client

Considerations for Hiring Contractors


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Whether you’re waterproofing a basement, building a deck, remodeling a kitchen, or anything in between, the contractor you choose will determine the cost and finish of the project.

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If you’re looking for top-notch professionals who get the job done right, you can save money, speed up time, and avoid the most common pitfalls by following this list of do’s and don’ts.

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Only deal with licensed professionals

When you buy a contractor, you probably already know to search the internet for reviews. But your review process has to go a step further to ensure you’re dealing with a certified professional, not just someone with a truck, tools, and a little expertise.

Ray Brosnan of Brosnan Property Solutions said: “When hiring any type of contractor you should always ensure they are fully licensed and registered with the relevant board.”

Hire a contractor who can obtain the required licenses

If this is the type of work that requires municipal permits, make sure any contractors you work with are ready and willing to get the proper paperwork.

“First, ask if a permit or planning permission is required for the work,” Brosnan said. “Large-scale work like structural additions and major alterations often require a permit, and a decent contractor will handle the whole process.”

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Don’t wait until the license is in hand

It’s good to know in advance what licenses you’ll need – but securing them isn’t the first step in the process.

“As soon as you know you’re going to renovate or build, contact the contractor,” said Ryan Meagher, business development manager and lead estimator at BVM Contracting. “Many people wait until they get permission to contact the contractor, but that puts you at a disadvantage. status and will inevitably lead to hasty decisions about who to work with without sufficient research or touchpoints. As the first step in the renovation or home construction planning process, contact a contractor. They will guide many homeowners through the same process , and has valuable insights into how to properly navigate the process and will help you avoid costly mistakes.”

Be sure to look for someone who specializes in your project

When interviewing potential employees, weed out those who don’t have a background in the specific type of job you’re planning.

“Ask your contractor if this is a type of work they do on a regular basis,” Brosnan said. “Experience really matters.”

Get multiple quotes

Regardless of the type of job, it’s best to get several competitive bid offers.

“This helps you compare potential contractors to each other,” said Jason Farr, president and owner of Aviara Pavers. “You don’t have to rely on just a few brief meetings, but assess their skills and experience through their portfolio. It saves time and money.”

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Soliciting multiple bids doesn’t just help you get the lowest price.

“It’s not just about individual quotes, it’s about feeling the market,” said Jon Wiest of Ripped Jeans Construction. “Are all the quotes within your budget? If any one is much lower or higher than the others, you need to do some digging. Do all the estimates describe the scope of the work as you understand it? What differences could lead to price differences? ?”

Don’t choose based on price alone

Once bid, the cheapest estimate is always the most tempting — but it’s not always the best.

“Don’t just accept the lowest bid,” Farr said. “That’s because anyone who bows is likely to have a bad reputation in the market. This automatically increases the cost of raw materials because they don’t have a well-established network. You can negotiate your final offer by meeting with potential contractors.”

Educate yourself about what the process will look like

You don’t have to be an expert on the type of work you’re arranging – that’s what your contractor is for. However, by learning as much as possible about the work you will be paying for, you can actively participate in the process, which can help you make money-saving decisions.

“If you have a good idea of ​​what’s going to happen, you can ask follow-up questions to understand how the contractor will interact with you,” Wiest said. “Are they dismissive of your questions? Are they willing to be collaborators in the process? If everyone understands the same plan, there will be fewer financial surprises later.”

Don’t expect instant gratification

Make sure you go into any project with realistic expectations – building materials have been in short supply and contractors are supported since the pandemic-era lumber shortage.

“There’s a lot of demand for deals across the country right now,” West said. “You will most likely have to wait to start your project. Take the time to do the necessary research to understand your project.”

Agree on a payment schedule before work begins

Make sure you and your contractor agree in writing when to pay based on work completion milestones.

“When hiring contractors, have a well-defined payment schedule based on progress rather than arbitrary dates,” says James Upton, bathroom remodeling expert and founder of DIYTileGuy. “This way, the contractor has to complete certain tasks in order to receive payment. It’s fair to both parties.”

Hire a local

Even if you have to pay a little more for the job, it’s important to choose a contractor located in the area – if you go with an out-of-towner with a lower bid, you’re likely to pay more in the long run.

“Having a contractor local to the project to do the work is a benefit to the homeowner,” Meagher said. “There will be time-saving efficiencies and the contractor will give the project more attention.”

don’t do anything until you get a written assurance

Whatever happens, don’t choose a contractor who can’t guarantee the job — never let the work begin until you’ve made a commitment on paper.

“Finally, ask your contractor about their service guarantee and get it in writing,” Brosnan says. “Most reputable merchants have warranties on their labor and the equipment and accessories they use.”

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