In 2017, Americans spent $424 billion on home improvements. Replacing and renovating floors and ceilings was the most popular form of renovation work, at an average cost of $3,283.
Whether you’re looking to have a new kitchen fitted, a bathroom upgraded or an extension built, it’s more than likely that you’ll need the help of a contractor. In this article, we are going to share some useful tips in hiring a general contractor.
In order to find the best contractor for your project, you need to follow the ‘5 Ps’: People, Process, Portfolio, Price, and Past Clients. However, for large projects that cost big sums of money, it can be difficult to settle on a contractor you can trust.
Remember that you’ll be inviting your contractor into your home regularly. So, when you meet them, ask plenty of questions and see how they respond to you. Throughout the process, you’ll spend a lot of time with your contractor so, before you choose one for your project, ensure that you connect with each other on a personal level. This way, if bumps occur along the way, you’ll be well-placed to resolve them as part of your working relationship.
Good processes are essential in ensuring that projects are finished correctly and on time. Instead of receiving a rough estimate from a contractor, ask them about specifics.
This should include:
- A breakdown of the hours they’ll be in your home daily
- Lines of accountability and contact points if there’s a problem
- A detailed schedule of work/a project plan
- How much input you will have in the process
By agreeing on these key points with your contractor before hiring them, you’ll both know what to expect from the project.
The best way to compare prospective contractors is to assess their portfolios against each other. When looking at portfolios, you should be looking for two things:
- The quality of the work in the portfolio
- How similar the work in the portfolio is to the project you’d like the contractor to undertake for you
Reputable contractors will be more than happy to provide you with a portfolio of their work, and many will have portfolios on their websites. Ideally, you’ll want to see that the contractor has done a number of projects similar to yours and finished them to a high standard.
Be specific on what you’re looking for in these portfolios. For example, you may find a contractor who has a number of beautiful kitchens in their portfolio but, if you’re looking for a new bathroom and they don’t have examples, then they may not be best for you.
As with any decision you make, the cheapest option may not necessarily be the best option. When discussing a quote with your contractor, you need to make an assessment to balance cost with value.
For example, a contractor with a decade of experience and an excellent portfolio may be more expensive than a newcomer who hasn’t completed a project that’s similar to yours before, but they may be a better option for you. Remember that, if a contractor is offering rock bottom prices, there may be a reason why.
When discussing the price with your contractor, you should also discuss insurance with them. If your contractor is properly insured, then everyone is covered in the unlikely scenario that something goes wrong. If they are not currently insured, ask if they will take out some cheap contractors insurance before starting the project.
Finally, before you make your decision, consider visiting customer review sites. Customers are usually candid in the way that they review their contractors, so you’ll receive accurate thoughts that you can use to back-up your ideas. So, assess the number of reviews that your contractor has and the proportion of customers who are happy with the work that the contractor provided.
Follow these top tips, and you’ll have no problems finding a contractor you can trust. Happy hunting!