Hiring a Contractor

Hiring a Contractor

Careful consideration in choosing a remodeler assures that the amount of time, effort and money you invest in your project will result in a successful remodel that you can enjoy for years to come. Here are several recommendations to help you choose a contractor:

Seek referrals. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors if they have used a contractor they could recommend. Find out if the contractor does the type of work you want done. Remember if you are planning a kitchen remodel and your neighbors just had their home's exterior remodeled, their contractor might not be the right one for your job.

Check for the basics. Make sure the contractor is properly licensed and insured. You can go to the State Licensure Board online and find out if a contractor is licensed. Confirm that a permit will be issued by the local jurisdiction, if required for your project. Check with the local Better Business Bureau to make sure there are not numerous complaints against the contractor.

Establish rapport. Spend sufficient time meeting with the contractor to determine if there is a mutual level of trust, confidence, and compatibility. If you don't feel comfortable with the contractor, then do not hire him/her, regardless of their ability. You need to be able to share ideas, ask questions, and disagree sometimes. You must feel comfortable communicating clearly with your contractor in order to have a successful project.

Check references. Reputable contractors will be happy to provide names and contact information for satisfied customers. Follow up with several and ask questions such as Could you communicate well with the remodeler? Were you pleased with the quality of work? Was your project completed on schedule? Would you use the contractor again without hesitation?

Obtain a contract. A written contract will specify what will be done to complete the job, associated costs, and the payment schedule. Never sign a blank contract or one with blank spaces.

Planning. Make sure that sufficient time is given to upfront planning and that the contractor is working with a good set of plans. This step will help prevent budget overruns and project delays.

Pay by check. Write out the check to the contracting company rather than to an individual. A reasonable down payment will be required when the contract is signed.