If you are planning a home improvement project, it’s worth it to hire an experienced general contractor. Not all contractors are created equal. Some will do better work than others. Here are 10 tips for choosing the right general contractor:
Educate Yourself on the Project
The first step you should take is to learn more about the project you want to pursue. If you educate yourself about your project, you can ask the contractors more detailed questions and determine if they are right for the job.
Ask Family and Friends for Recommendations
If you have friends or family members who have done similar home improvement projects in the past, ask them to recommend a good contractor. The people close to you can steer you in the right direction.
Choose a General Contractor who Specializes in Your Project Type
It’s a wise idea to hire a contractor who has experience with the type of home remodeling project you’re planning. Home improvement projects can be quite complex, so you want someone who has the knowledge and the experience. If you want to remodel your kitchen, for example, you probably don’t want to hire someone who only has experience in remodeling bathrooms.
Ask to See Samples of Work
Before you hire a contractor, request to see samples of past projects. This lets you determine if the quality is up to your standards. A quick browsing of their portfolio can tell you a lot about their creativity, if they can handle different styles or are a one-tune player, and if they can execute large-scale projects.
Make Sure the Contractor is Licensed and Insured
The general contractor you hire to work on your home improvement project should be both licensed and insured. A license demonstrates that the contractor has passed an exam and is familiar with building codes. If the contractor has adequate insurance, it will protect you from being sued in case a worker gets hurt on the job.
Talk to a contractor’s past clients and ask them about their experience. Find out if a contractor did a good job on their home remodeling projects and if they charged a fair price. If past clients rave about a contractor’s work, it’s a good sign that he or she is reputable and skilled.
Establish Ground Rules
To help things go as smoothly as possible, it’s vital to establish ground rules from the start. For example, you may want to determine what hours the contractor can work at your home and when you expect him or her to finish the project. A remodeling project is typically disruptive and comes with a mess. Make it clear that they have to respect your space and that cleaning at the end of the the day is part of the deal.
Interview a few contractors
Even if the first general contractor you talk to seems great, it’s in your best interest to interview at least a few more. The next contractor you interview may be just as experienced and skilled but will bring added value (better timeline, interesting ideas, better price,…)
Pick a Contractor who is Easy to Talk to
It’s important to work with a contractor who is easy to communicate with and understands your expectations for this project. If a contractor is hard to reach or doesn’t seem enthused about your remodel, you may consider finding another person for the job.
Don’t Put too much Money down
It isn’t necessary to pay a general contractor a big chunk of money at the beginning of the project. In fact, you shouldn’t put more than 10 percent down, and establish a clear payment schedule.
Some home improvement projects must be executed by professionals, no matter how handy you are. Whenever plumbing, electricity or structural changes are involved, better be safe than sorry. You may be impatient to get the remodel started and even more anxious to get it done. To avoid disappointment and problems, take the time to hire the general contractor who is right for you. It will be a partner for a while, so make time to save time.
GW Construction is your one-stop shop for all your remodeling projects. Contact us for a free estimate.