Believe it or not, more than 90 percent of American homeowners plan to renovate their homes in the near future. Though some choose to handle the project on their own, most prefer to work with an experienced professional.
If you’re like most homeowners, you know that finding a general contractor that you trust can be the hardest part of any home improvement project. If you choose the wrong professional, you risk ending up with inferior workmanship.
Luckily, finding a certified contractor that’s worth your time is easier than you might think. Here are a few simple tips to help you make sure you find a pro you can rely on.
Ask the People You Know
The best way to find trustworthy general contractors is to talk to the people you know and ask them for recommendations. Start with your friends and family members in the area and see if they know of any reputable professionals you can contact.
If they don’t, expand your search to your coworkers and acquaintances. The chances are that someone in your professional network will know of a great contractor or know someone else who does.
When you work with a professional that people you know already trust, you’re more likely to get great service. This is because those people have already vetted the contractor and done the hard work for you.
Keep in mind that you can always ask your home repair contractors like your electrician or plumber for advice, too. Their network and knowledge of the local industry can help you identify contractors that you might not otherwise know are in business.
Search Online for Additional Experts
If the people you know haven’t provided you with at least a few contractors, don’t panic. Start your search online and see if you can find contractors that work and live in your area.
Keep your search as local as possible. This way, you won’t have to pay extra for transportation costs. Even better, you’ll know that the contractor is familiar with all local building codes.
This can save you trouble once you start your project. Remember, if a renovation or construction project isn’t completed to your local government’s standards, they can fine you and require you to tear the project down. Depending on the type of renovation you’re taking care of, this could cost you thousands of dollars.
When you’re searching online, read up on the reviews posted about each contractor you find. If most of the reviews are positive, you’ll likely have a similar experience and should contact the contractor. However, if the reviews mention similar problems or issues, keep searching.
The last thing you want to deal with is a contractor that doesn’t do high-quality work. You’ll have to pay to fix the damage they caused, potentially derailing your budget.
Schedule a Call With Each General Contractor
Once you find a few contractors you’re interested in working with, call around. Use each phone call as an opportunity to learn more about the contractor you might be working with.
Ask them about their experience, the types of projects they usually handle, and how long they’ve had their company.
As a general rule, it’s best to work with a contractor that’s been in business for at least several years. This shows that they’re established in the community and care about their work. Contractors that are brand new won’t have a proven reputation that you can trust and rely on.
It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the way they conduct the phone call. Great contractors will ask you questions about your property, your project, and your budget during the call. If you find that you’re driving the conversation and can’t get the contractor to show interest, keep looking.
If they’re not willing to make an effort to get to know your needs during the call, they won’t be responsive while working on your property.
Follow up With an On-Site Quote
After getting a feel for how different contractors work and their enthusiasm for your construction project, you need to schedule an on-site quote. Think about how each contractor responded during your initial phone consultation. Then, create a list of the professionals you want to work with.
Once you have that list, schedule an estimate with each one at your property. This will allow them to see what they’re working with and makes putting together a rough estimate of the costs far easier.
If possible, ask for the estimate in writing. This way, you’ll be able to compare the estimates from each contractor more closely.
Ask for References From Each Professional
Before you take the next steps with the contractors you like, take the time to ask them for references. The most trustworthy general contractors have a long list of previous clients that are happy to discuss their experience with you.
If a contractor doesn’t have references you can contact, thank them for their time and move on with your search. It shows that they likely don’t have customers that feel satisfied with their work and won’t do a great job on your project.
Once you have the references’ contact information, follow up with them. Ask each person about the types of work they paid for and find out if they would hire the contractor again in the future. If most of the contacts are happy with the contractor’s services, you’ll be in good hands.
However, if they express concerns about the durability of the workmanship or had problems while the contractor was working on their property, keep looking.
Request Proof of Insurance and Licensing
Once you have an idea of the professional you want working on your property, you need to make sure they’re legally allowed to do the job. According to the professionals behind http://www.hcienv.com/ contractors should have a valid license to operate in your state and city.
Reputable contractors will happily provide you with their license number that you can then verify with your local government.
Each contractor should also have proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage for each employee they bring on the job site. These policies protect you from liability if your property gets damaged as a result of the job or one of their team gets injured while working on your property.
If a contractor refuses to provide you with either a license number or proof of insurance, keep looking.
Find Out if They’ll Help With Permits
Before you can start any type of construction job on your property, you need to secure the necessary building permits with the city or county. Some contractors will help you apply for and secure those permits. Others will expect you to handle the job on your own.
Though both are acceptable options, it can help to have the guidance of an experienced contractor during the application process. They’ll be able to speed up the process and reduce the risk of delays or refusals of your application.
Before you agree to work with a contractor, make sure you’re comfortable with their preferred permitting process. This way, you’ll know what to expect and can start the application process in a timelier manner.
Compare the Estimates in Detail
Ultimately, the most important thing you’ll need to consider is your budget. That’s why getting written estimates from each contractor is so important.
Take the time to compare the estimates closely. Look at the types of services and work each estimate outlines. Pay attention to the costs and any additional fees each contractor charges for their work.
Though it’s tempting to choose the cheapest contractor, it’s not always in your best interest. Instead, look at the bigger picture. You’ll want to choose the contractor that does the highest quality work at a price that fits your budget, not the lowest price possible.
Be Flexible About Your Timeframe
Reputable contractors are almost always busy. This means you may have to wait to get your project taken care of properly.
If your preferred contractor has no availability for the next few months, see if there’s another professional you’re comfortable with. You can even ask your preferred contractor for a recommendation if you need to have the project finished by a set date.
That said, the more flexible you can be with your preferred timeframe, the easier it will be to choose the perfect general contractor for your upcoming project.
Choose the Contractor You’re Most Comfortable With
Choosing to make improvements on your property is one of the best ways to add value to the building. However, if you want your projects to have the greatest impact, you’ll need to find a general contractor to handle the job.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to find a contractor you can trust for years to come. Just remember that it’s okay to take your time. Do your due diligence and choose a professional that works with your budget and your needs.
Keeping your home in pristine condition isn’t always easy. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks to help you stay on top of maintenance at all times.