6 considerations to make before hiring a construction contractor

home planning
Photo Credit: seanlockephotography

Buying or building a house is one of the biggest purchases most people make in their lifetime. Some people choose to build their houses from the ground up so that they can customize it exactly how they want, whereas others choose to buy a house and do renovations on it over time. Regardless of which route you choose to take, you want to make sure you choose the right contractor as your first call-to-action.

Making sure you choose the right contractor is very important when it comes to your home. Why is it so important? Because of safety. Whether you opt for a modern home construction trend or a more traditional one, your home is where you’ll be sleeping, eating, and spending the majority of your time. In knowing that, you want to make sure you’re hiring the right people to handle your contracting needs.

You want to check out the quality of their work in advance; clearly state and put in writing the type of work you want done; check their licensing. Some people will even create a checklist to follow. If you’re in the market for a contractor, there are eight checks you should make before hiring any type of contractor.

Check 1: Get Estimates from Multiple Contractors

When it comes to your home, one of the best things you can do for yourself is talk to multiple contractors and get a written estimate… you want to get at least three estimates from three different contractors. With estimates, you’re of course looking at cost as the main factor but you’re also looking at building materials timelines, and working methods as factors that will help you to make your decision. Be wary of estimates that are priced too high or too low.

Check 2: Hire Locally

When working with local contractors, they’re a lot easier to get in contact with if problems arise at a later date. They should be able to provide you with their physical address that’s within your local area. Plus, with local contractors, they’re familiar with the building codes and rules and regulations in your area. If a contractor is hesitant and completely against leaving a contract overnight, it’s a major red flag.

Check 3: Go Back and Look at Their Previous Work

Are they able to show you previous works or refer you to previous clients as a point of reference for you? Do they even specialize in the type of work you want done to your home? It’s important that you do this type of research. You want to check on the quality of their work and the type of customer service they give. You can even check the Better Business Bureau for their reputation and how long they’ve been in business.

Check 4: Make Sure They’re Properly Insured and Bonded

When hiring a contractor, there’s nothing wrong with asking your contractor for a certificate of insurance (COI). The COI should give you the name of the insurance company, policy number and limits the contractor carries. You also want to make sure they are bonded. Construction companies tend to look for surety bond services as an added form of insurance and backed financial services.

Check 5: Expect Delays and Slow Downs in the Project

With any type of construction project, especially when it comes to your home, you have to be realistic with yourself and know that there’s a possibility that your home renovation might not be completed on time. Circumstances happen that aren’t the contractor’s fault. According to theconstructor.org, the weather is a circumstance that a contractor has no control over… especially for outdoor projects. Depending on the type of project it is, contractors will typically have alternate plans in place to stay on schedule with project goals but it all depends on the type of weather that’s happening.

Check 6: Don’t Pay For Anything Up Front

You first and foremost want to make sure you don’t pay for the entire project before it’s done. Anything can happen… the contractor could run over the project deadline or the work could be done at low-quality level that is meeting your satisfactory needs. You want to always pay to a company, not an individual and never pay in cash… pay by check or by card, so that you can have a paper trail. Now for larger projects, it’s pretty standard to pay for at least about a third of the estimated costs associated with the project; that’s the initial payment to get it started.


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