Looking for a Home Improvement Contractor?

So you have decided to hire a contractor to make changes in your home. Hmmmm… Definitely sounds like a fun idea. At least it will be interesting. Hmmmm….

So you have formed a picture in your mind of what you would like to accomplish. Did you make some sort of sketch?

Here is the first tip for hiring a home contractor. It is one thing to tell someone what you want done. Trust me. No matter how many times, you verbally describe what you envision; a picture is worth just as much as it would cost you, if your contractor misinterprets your wishes.

So. Let’s see now. You do happen to know something about the contractor you called, don’t you? Oh. This is maybe someone you have never even met before. And you want to trust this contractor with one of your most precious investments. Right.

At this point in time, it might be good to brush up on some tips for hiring a home contractor.

Some contractors are sensitive enough to help you get to know them better. Some will carry a photo portfolio and take the time to invite you to look at how well their accomplishments show.

Some contractors also have a lot of enthusiasm for their work, which becomes self-evident after you engage them in discussion about the job at hand.

However, it is nice to have some sort of idea as to how to gain assurances that your venture will be completely successful. Failure just hurts too much!

Let’s start with these tips for hiring home contractors:

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It is reasonable to ask for pictures of jobs they have complete;
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It is reasonable to ask for the locations of some of the jobs in your area that you might like to arrange a personal viewing;
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It is reasonable to ask for the phone numbers of people that you can call (seeing is better-but sometimes conversations are helpful, also);
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It is reasonable to ask what type of lead time they need to actually begin;
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Will that lead-time change if the decision is made at a later point than this week?
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Once the job is started, will the work keep going until completion?
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Are there likely to be gaps while one waits for supplies or other variables to be resolved?
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How many people are likely to be involved in the work? How long how they been with this contractor?
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Is the contractor properly licensed and insured for any contingencies that could arise?
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How much money will be required to start the job?
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How is the balance of the money to be paid?
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If there is a quote, will it be presented in writing?
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If there is to be a lapse from the date of the quote to the actually approval, how long is the quote good for at the stated price?
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If there are changes to be made along the way, will they also be presenting in writing and approved prior to doing anything that strays from the original agreement?

Home renovating is not a time to be shy about having your needs met. Talk to people. Talk to lots of people. Talk to contractors, of course. Also talk to friends about their experiences. It is amazing what comes up from rehashing renovations experiences with someone who has lived through even what appeared to be the most minor repairs. Most lay people can tell you from personal experience many tips for hiring a contractor.

For example:

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There is always so much disruption to one’s personal space;
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Is the contractor expecting you to be absent during the work period?
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How much mess will there be?
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What precautions will be taken to protect the rest of the house from dust?
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Who will be responsible for removal of debris?
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Will the house be left cleaned everyday?

Frequently, more than one type of service will be required for the work to be complete. If you have to repair old plumbing and/or electrical, it is disconcerting to attempt to co-ordinate the activities of contractors who don’t know each other. Most contractors are only too happy to provide tips for hiring contractors (particular if it will make their own jobs easier).

If a renovation involves the use of various contractors, there are some who will work together better than with others. Perhaps they have a particular preference as to who to suggest to give the best coverage. Also, in a renovation that requires more than one contractor, there are areas of overlap. You want to know that things will go smoothly and that each person understands where one service contractor finishes and the other takes over.

When everything has been said and done, the final tip for hiring a home contractor is to make absolutely certain the work has been completed to your satisfaction before final payment.

Good luck and enjoy!

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