Tips for Hiring the Right Contractor for Those Un-DIY-able Home Projects
For the homeowner with a strong DIY spirit, you want to tackle as many home improvement projects as you can, by yourself. There’s a certain satisfaction in renovating a home on the back of your own skills and hard work. But sometimes there are jobs that fall beyond your purview. Whether you simply don’t have the skills necessary to complete the job, are worried about safety, or just want to get it done quickly, there are times when you need to bite the bullet and call a professional. Here are some tips for making sure you find the right person for the job.
Do more research than simply reading online reviews
I’m not knocking the wonderful thing that is an online review - after all, this is likely where you’ll begin your search - but you can’t just rely on what people say about a contractor online. People that know the company or people working for it oftentimes leave rosy reviews. Negative reviews can also be misleading, as customers can have unrealistic expectations and some have a seemingly limitless capacity for holding a grudge.
Talk to people in your community that you trust. Can anyone vouch for their work? Ask to look at a portfolio of the contractor’s work. If they don’t have one, it’s time to be wary.
“After looking at a contractor's portfolio, request to visit a few projects similar in size and style to yours. Try to check out one that was recently completed, one that's under construction and one completed five to 10 years ago,” suggests Houzz.com. This way you can see how organized they are on a construction site and how well their work stands the test of time.
Don’t let the price be the only determining factor
Everyone wants to save money, especially when it comes to home repair projects that could cost thousands of dollars. But picking the contractor that quotes you the lowball figure is probably not a good idea. Charging well below the norm for a service could mean that they are desperate for work or are cutting corners on materials and labor. It could mean that they are paying their subcontractors a less-than-acceptable wage. Any of these reasons are bad and could spell trouble. When it comes to your home, especially work that’s being done in the electrical, structural, or plumbing realm, it’s vital that you are confident in the quality of the work.
This is why it’s so important to get project quotes from at least three different contractors. If you do that, you can spot the outliers.
As you’re considering your budget, depending on the type of project you’re having completed, you might want to consider a little extra to rent out some storage space so you have a place to keep things from the room that’s being worked on.
Make sure the work contract is detailed
And when we say detailed, we mean insanely so.
“Make sure your contract spells out exactly what will be done, including deadlines, progress payments, the exact materials that will be used down to the model number and who will provide which materials,” says US News & World Report. This is especially important if you’re moving or have some other hard deadline for the project’s completion.
Every individual task should be outlined and a price set. Never accept large lump estimates for the total project. Everything should be itemized. If your contractor refuses to do this, look elsewhere. Stipulate that any changes in the initial contract, whether it be a little extra spending on materials or a minor change in the time frame, must be approved by you beforehand.
It’s not admitting weakness to hire a professional to do some of your home improvement jobs. A lot of the time, it’s actually the smartest, safest, and most time and money-saving decision you can make. A bad contractor can be one of life’s great annoyances, however, so it’s vital you take the time to find the right person for the job.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
About the Author: Paul Denikin enjoys sharing tips and advice on DIY projects. He is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children.