By Frank Figari | April 2018
Hiring a contractor is something every homeowner faces when it’s time for home renovations projects. Often times the hardest part of a home renovation project is finding the right contractor to do the job. Trusted Hands Services bids on projects every day and we’ve seen lots of different ways people go about this process. So to help with finding the right company for the job, here are 12 steps to hiring a contractor for your home renovation project.
Have a general idea of your project before approaching a contractor. For instance, if you want a bathroom renovation, make decisions on if you want new tub or shower. Do you want to move the location of a sink or toilet? Do you want a new floor? Is the current lighting sufficient or do you want to install additional lights and outlets? Knowing these things and communicating with your contractor help to steer the project and keep you in control.
Contact at least three contractors or handymen and make sure they are licensed to work in your area, bonded and insured. Once their credentials are confirmed, meet each one in person. This the best way to determine if you will feel comfortable about having them work in your home, especially if you cannot be home while they are there working. Trust your instincts on this and remove from your list anyone who you don’t feel right about.
Make sure the contractor has experience in the type of work you want to be done. Ask for pictures from similar jobs recently done. Ask for references from people who have used the contractor in the past, especially those who have had similar work done. Then check out all the references. Also, check for formal complaints filed against the contractors you’re are considering on trusted websites that post ratings and reviews.
Once you have three companies you feel comfortable with and have the right experience and reviews, start the bid process. You need to get a comparable bid from each. The key here is to make sure each contractor bids the exact same scope of work. If everyone is working from the same playbook, then you can fairly compare costs and timetables of each bid.
Make sure the contractor will pull all the necessary permits. This is very important, especially for inspections and financing.
Ask about the people who will do the actual work. If they are independent sub-contractors you should get a lien release. A lien release will protect you in the event the contractor doesn’t pay the subcontractors. Always check your state’s construction lien laws to protect yourself.
Before hiring a contractor get detailed bids in writing that breakout all materials separately with estimated labor hours.
Make sure your proposal/contract has the start date and projected completion date outlining a schedule with tasks and timing for each part of the project. Make sure your contractor agrees to any penalties for missed deadlines.
During the course of the work, plans may change, so make sure the contractor provides a change order or updates the original estimate to reflect the changes. Make sure the contractor understands that all changes must be authorized by you before the revised work is started.
Clearly tell your contractor which type of communication you prefer. If you like to speak directly with your vendors, make sure the contractor picks up the phone or calls you back. If you prefer email or text messages, make sure the contractor understands that. Whatever you prefer, make sure you tell your contractor and get agreement to the best times of the day to communicate and a reasonable time for returned communication.
If the project is large and will take several weeks or months to complete, ask for a weekly recap of progress based on what you agreed upon. This will hold the contractor accountable and ensures the project stays on schedule. If delays occur due to things within the contractor’s reasonable control, then charge back the delay penalty agreed to during the bid process.
Finally, make sure the contractor agrees to a “final walk through” of the project to make sure you are satisfied the job is completed to the agreed upon standards before you make the final payment. It’s easier to get things corrected before you make the final payment than it is after the contractor has been fully paid.
And one last thing, if you had a great experience with your contractor then tell your friends and write a nice review or testimonial. Good reviews are really helpful and appreciated.
When you are ready for a big home improvement project, hiring the right contractor can make the difference between a project that starts on schedule, stays within a budget and is completed on time, or a project that costs more time and money than you expect. These 12 steps to hiring a contractor for your home renovation project make sense, need to be a standard operating procedure and are keys to a successful project. Trusted Hands Services is ready to tackle all of your renovation and handyman jobs with services designed to make your home beautiful, functional and safe. To get started on your project, call us at 813.520-0000 or contact us here.