Choosing a contractor to build, repair, or install something at your residence or property can be an exhausting task. So many choices and trying to find the time to meet with them and talking to them about your project can be a chore in itself. Here are a few tips that can help in selecting a great contractor to complete your project!
Avoid red flags
While you are browsing through potential candidates for your project, you will come across many different types. For example, if a contractor is offering a substantially low bid, it could mean he is cutting corners on materials and workmanship. This could lead to a disaster on your project and costing you more money! Remember, the low bid is not always the best bid. A contractor with a higher bid may have anticipated problems or planned on using a superior product. The old saying,”you get what you pay for”, is very prevalent in this day and age. Here are some other things to pay attention to:
They want a large portion of money up front.
They demand cash only.
They don’t have or offer an actual physical address.
The contractor just popped up at your doorstep saying he was in the area and had some extra material or noticed you needed something done on your place.
Typically when you need some work on your property done, you will get plenty of referrals from friends or family of contractors they may have had good experiences with. Social media is also another good place to look. Many contractors have facebook, twitter, and other social media profiles that you can check them out on to view their work and see comments from previous customers. Also material and product suppliers for the type of work you want to be done can sometimes offer you suggestions for contractors.
Ask your potential contractor some questions and get a feel for how qualified they are for your project. Typically if your gut is telling you no, you should listen. Some good questions to ask are:
How long have you been in business?
Who will be the supervisor assigned to the job and will the actual contractor you are hiring be the one doing the work or are they going to sub the work out?
Does the company carry workers comp and liability insurance?
How many projects like this have you completed within the last 12 months?
Do they belong to any professional organizations?
Mission statements and values
Does your contractor have a mission statement or company values? While this is not a must for hiring a contractor it does tend to make some with it stand out from the ones without. If a contractor has gone through the effort of establishing mission statements and values, then they have put thought into their business and who they want to be. Most who have this will have them on their website, and if you’re meeting them in person, they will gladly tell you their values if you ask them.
Sealing the deal
Get an agreement in writing. You should have an idea of a scope of work in your agreement, so you know what is and is not included in the agreement. Whether you sign an actual contract or just a formal proposal with terms and conditions of it, this will help to protect you from potential problems.