Step by Step Guide to Hiring the Right Contractor

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Looking for a contractor for your next project can be very overwhelming. From finding the right type of contractor to comparing prices. A few things you can do before you start your search for a contractor is set expectations and a budget for the project. This way, it can be easier when you are meeting with people to figure out who will be the best fit for the job. Some questions you may consider: What is the budget for this project? What is a reasonable timeline? Do I have all the information about the project? When you have answered these questions, it’s safe to say you are ready to begin your search for a contractor.


Do Your Research 

Start by looking at websites and reviews. If you notice a pattern of consistent positive reviews or negative reviews, that should be a sign of how that person or company does business. Ask your friends or peers if they have anyone they would recommend. Word of mouth is a great way to find out who is reliable or not. Also, check for qualifications, such as licensing. Finally, find out how long they have been in business.


Hiring the Right ContractorAsk the Right Questions, Get Estimates and Inquire about Permits

When you feel confident that you have a good list together of potential contractors and you did your research, don’t be afraid to use it! Ask for a list of recent projects to see how familiar the contractor is with your type of project. Get a written estimate from several firms. Just because someone offers the lowest price, doesn’t mean that will be the best fit. Check to see if this project will require a permit. Most states require permits and insurance for a building project, even for simple projects, a competent contractor will get all the necessary permits before starting work on your project.


Get a Written Contract

Check what your state requires for a contract because it varies. Even if your state doesn’t require a written agreement, ask for one anyway. Expectations need to be clear and concise on both ends. Such as who, what, where, when and the cost of your project. Before you sign a contract, make sure it has all of the following listed:

• A payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers
• What the contractor will and won’t do. For example, is site clean-up and trash hauling included in the price?
• How change orders are handled. A change order is a written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract and could affect the project’s cost and schedule.


Confirmed your Contractor, What’s Next?

Now that you have secured your contractor, be sure to keep records. Such as copies of the contract, change orders, any correspondence (emails, etc.) and a record of all payments. Keep track of payments and the final bill. Some state or local laws limit the amount by which the final bill can exceed the estimate unless you have approved the increase. Use a Sign-Off checklist that you sign off. This can include the following:

• Work meets the standards spelled out in the contract
• You inspected and approved the completed work
• You have written warranties for materials and workmanship


These are just a few tips to help you find the right fit for your contractor. Overall, the best advice is to be knowledgeable about your project, read reviews and create a contact.