When planning your home renovation project, there are many integral factors to consider before diving into your project. Choosing the right contractor for your home renovation is an essential step in making it a success. A contractor is responsible for all areas related to home improvement and will oversee your home project to ensure the job is done efficiently.
It’s critical that you hire a contractor who is a qualified, efficient, and trustworthy professional who will help make your project successful. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll go over what a contractor does, and what to look for when hiring a contractor for your home project.
What Does a Contractor Do?
Before you hire a contractor, it’s important to know exactly what a contractor does and is responsible for when it comes to your home renovation.
A contractor is responsible for planning and overseeing the day-to-day operations of your home renovation. They will offer advice about the most efficient ways to complete a project and can help to create a timeline and budget. They are in charge of quality control and deadlines for your renovation by supervising the construction team and purchasing the necessary materials and equipment. Essentially, a contractor will turn the visions of the architects, interior designers, and engineers into a reality.
Contractors are a great addition as they can bring a skillset that homeowners often lack. If you’ve never been through a large renovation, then a contractor can act as a guide helping you make decisions along the way.
How to Choose a Contractor That’s Right For You
Choosing the right architect for your home renovation takes time, research, and effort and isn’t a task to take lightly. Here is our step-by-step process that will help guide you and get you closer to building your dream home.
1. Make a list of potential contractors
First, do some research on potential contractors that you want to look further into. Search online for local contractors in your area to get a better idea of the contractors that are working in your region. You can use the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. There are also many other contractor review sites that are great places to start.
2. Ask for recommendations
Ask friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers for any recommendations they may have. Asking for recommendations can help you get a better idea of what types of jobs the contractor has worked, and what the client experience is like. You can try talking to a building inspector if you know of any in your area, as they’ll have the best knowledge of contractors who have top reviews and routinely meet code requirements. Another person you can ask is those working at your local lumberyard since they see various contractors regularly and know which ones buy quality materials, are easy to work with, and pay their bills on time.
3. Look at their portfolio
The best way to find out if a contractor’s style of work aligns with your vision is by looking at their portfolio. Check out their previous work and pay attention to their workmanship, the quality of the products, and the overall style of their most recent projects to determine whether or not they could be a good fit for your project.
4. Set your budget
Before you meet with and interview contractors, set a budget range that you want to stay within. It’s important to have a clear budget range so that you can communicate your boundaries and limitations with the contractor when you meet.
That said, it’s important to be realistic about what you’re trying to accomplish. Trying to do a complete remodel with a 10k budget is probably not in the cards. Come in with a realistic budget, but be open to the suggestions from your contractor as they’ll likely be able to help you narrow down a price range.
5. Prepare for the interview
Now that you have a few contractors on your radar, it’s time to get to know your candidates and their work better. By meeting a contractor in person, you’ll be able to ask them the right questions and ensure that they are the right fit for the job. Before meeting with the contractor, here is a checklist of criteria and requirements to write down:
- The size, appearance, and style of your project
- The services you are looking for from your contractor
- A proposed timeline
- A proposed budget
To help the contractor envision what you’re looking for in your home renovation, you can bring a few photos and clippings from magazines that reflect your style and vision. Ask the contractor whether they can bring this vision to life and meet your expectations.
6. Schedule an interview
Once you have your criteria checklist ready, you can schedule an interview with a few contractors that you have your eye on.
- How long has your company been in business?
- What kind of experience do you have with this kind of project?
- Will you use your crew or hire a subcontractor for part of the job?
- Do you have the necessary permits and licenses?
- What is the cost estimate for this job?
- What is the timeline you would give for this job?
- Are you insured?
- Do you have references?
- Do you provide a written contract?
- What kind of warranty do you provide and what does it cover?
- Do you have worker’s compensation and liability insurance?
- Do you anticipate any potential problems or issues with this job? If so, how will you deal with them?
7. Review their references
Now that you have narrowed your search down, review your contractor’s references to get an idea of how their previous projects have ended, and whether or not they were successful. Here is a checklist of questions to ask your contractor’s references.
- Did the contractor work within your agreed-upon budget and timeline?
- What issues came up during the project? How did the contractor handle them?
- Were you able to communicate with the contractor regularly with updates?
- Did the architect listen to your concerns, questions, needs, and feedback?
If you’re able to, you can try to visit a few of the contractor’s previous projects. By seeing the look of their previous renovation projects, you’ll be able to see their style of work in person and decide whether or not it matches your vision.
8. Set up a payment schedule
Once you’ve chosen the contractor you feel is the best fit for your home renovation project, it’s time to set up a payment schedule before starting work. Each contractor will have different pricing varying on their experience and services. It’s best to avoid cash payments and pay by check or credit card. If a contractor asks for cash payments, you may be getting scammed.
Paying a down payment or amount upfront is common and nothing out of the ordinary. Depending on where you’re located, some states have set limits on the amount of money a contractor can request as a down payment. For larger products, it’s most common to pay 10 percent at the contract signing, followed by three payments of 25 percent over the duration of the project, and a check for the final 15 percent of the project once you feel satisfied that your requirements have been met and all tasks are completed.
How To Hire a Contractor
Finding the right contractor takes time, patience, and research. The right contractor for you will be a trustworthy, skilled, and experienced professional who you feel comfortable working with and taking on for your home renovation project. By using this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to find the right contractor for you that will help your home project be a success.