So you are ready to put that new tile you picked lat week for the kitchen? If you don’t know how to do the work yourself or do not have the required skill set or time to tackle the DIY project for home improvement, then hiring a contractor is the only option. But don’t assume hiring a home remodeling contractor to be an easy process. It can be a headache. How to tell if someone is good at doing their job?
When you are looking for a contractor, it is like hiring a new employee on the job. You do not hire the first possible applicant instead look for the appropriate candidates for the job. A similar way looks for the best candidates to narrow down the options and then pick one contractor. Check their precious work portfolios, licensing, and referrals. Gather some competitive bids and then make the final decision.
Some ways to choose the best remodeling home contractors
- Get recommendations– the first step is to create the list of local 10-15 contractors who have the required set of expertise. Then you have to gradually narrow down this list to choose the top contender and then hire that contractor for your remodeling work. To make a list there are several ways: you can ask your friends and family members for any recommendations, especially those who have got renovations done. You can search online for the service you required in your area. Make sure to check reviews online before hiring.
- Compare the work of each contractor- you should choose the contractor who is specialized in the remodeling services you require. A person who does kitchen remodeling will not be good at doing bathroom renovations. You can look for a creative home improvement contractor to help with certain projects.
For example, if you want entryway to be laid with tile in detailed mosaic or get a room painted in faux finish, then you will have to find a contractor who specializes in this work. Ask contractors to show their portfolios of work and projects of last year. The before-after pictures and the photos of space will give you an idea of their competency and work finishing. The contractor might give you a physical portfolio or show you online on social media or their websites. This will give you an idea of what kind of work to expect from them.
- Ask for Certificates and Licensing– by this point, you should have 6-8 contractor names on your list. You can narrow down the list further by asking the contractor for their certification and licensing. The certification and licensing specifications will depend on the type of project you need to get done.
Legal requirements are different in every state; you can check for licensing requirements with the licensing division of your community. After checking the license and certification of the contractor to do the job legally and safely, check if the contractor has liability insurance to cover for on work damages. The contractors and workers, along with him, should be covered with workers’ compensation. Make sure to get a copy of the insurance policy and check if it is up to date.
- Check the references– after you have narrow down your list to top4-5 contractors, now is the time to check references. A typical reference list of the contractor will include more than ten job names: telephone numbers, addresses of each customer. You will also find the dates of work done at each customer place; if the list does not have dates, you can ask for it. Now you need to call every reference customer. If the list is too long, select a few new and few old work projects. Make detailed notes of the conversation with the references; ask them you can give a visit to check the work of the contractor in person. Some important question to ask while on call:
Was the contractor on a proper schedule?
Did he keep the job site neat?
Did you address any problems promptly?
Were the contractor and workers punctual for workdays?
Is the cost clear and reasonable?
Did you like the work?
- Review the reference project work– after you have called all the selected references cross the names who gave poor reviews. Then choose the reference works projects you have to visit to see the contractors work in person. Choose the reference people who are comfortable and open to you visiting their places and whose projects are similar to your requirement of work and is also close to your house. If the work was done 1-2 years back, it would be great to check how is work held up. When you visit the place, take close notice of the contractor’s work. Ask the person if they ever required repairing or servicing. Check the overall details and feel of the completed project.
- Get bid by top 3 contractors and hire the best option– you must have eliminated any contractor with unsatisfactory work and reviews. Then comes the next step to check on the price bid for the job with the remaining top contractors. After you have done a thorough consultation, every contractor will present a brief proposal and the estimated cost for the project that is called a bid. Depending on the type of job or renovation you require, this bid may include timeline details of the project and the materials they recommend to be used, and the overall cost of completing the project.
Get the bid from the top two or three contractors on the list. Then choose one contractor based on their bids. Do not always choose the lowest bid; you should always keep in mind the materials and work requirement of every contractor differs. For example. A contractor using prefab cabinets will charge low bid in comparison to the contractor with woodwork who does everything with hand. There will be a huge difference in the finish and feel of the kitchen. Keep your overall goals of renovation in mind then choose the best suitable proposal. After reviewing the final draft of the chosen contractor, review the proposal and sign it, hence begins your work.