How to Hire a Renovation Contractor
Renovations small and large usually require an expert’s touch which is why many homeowners choose to hire a renovation contractor. When it comes to finding and hiring a contractor, it is important to remember that not all professionals provide the same quality and calibre of work. As such, you should take some time to research various potential candidates and hire somebody that can not only work within your budget, but one that can also provide evidence of excellent workmanship. Still, if you’re a novice, you’re probably asking yourself about what to look for in a renovation contractor. The following pro tips will help you distinguish the best from the rest.
Speak to family, friends, and colleagues for renovation contractor recommendations. You can even check the Better Business Bureau for contractors with high ratings. Similarly, local building inspectors probably know which contractors have the best reputations.
Even if it’s just a matter of a quick phone call, you should conduct interviews with your list of recommended contractors. You want to know if they complete projects your size and whether they have other ongoing projects at the same time. You can even ask how long they’ve worked with their various subcontractors to ensure they hire quality professionals. Also, ask for references. Ultimately, you want to interview contractors to learn more about their availability, reliability, and communication styles.
After your telephone interview, you’ve likely narrowed your list to a handful of potential contractors, and now you’re ready to do some real research. Contact the contractors’ references and ask about the quality of work and whether the project stayed on time and on budget. You can even ask past clients if you can come by and view the work. Similarly, ask the contractor if you can visit a current job site so you can judge the contractor’s professionalism.
Ask for Quotes
Now you’ve probably narrowed your search even more, and you can ask your shortlisted contractors to review your blueprints and give you a bid. Always ask that the bid include a breakdown of costs related to materials, labour, profits, and other expenses. In most renovations, materials represent about 40 percent of the total cost of the project. Profit margins should range between 15 and 20 percent. Most experts recommend that you not let price be your final deciding factor. One common piece of advice is to throw out the lowest bid as these contractors tend to cut corners and this may affect the quality of the renovation. In fact, the main factor that should guide your decision is the contractor’s communication style. You’ll be working together for the duration of your project and you want to know you can communicate with each other.
Draw Up a Contract
Finally, you want to put in writing all aspects of the project from payment schedule and proof of insurance to types and cost of material and completion date. Agreeing in advance on a specific contract will help keep the renovation project moving smoothly.
So remember, when you’re looking for a quality renovation contractor, you should take your time and meet several candidates. Not all contractors will provide the same quality of work, and you likely want to know that your professional is going to do the job right the first time.