How to choose a contractor for your home improvement project
Many people say choosing a contractor is one of the most overwhelming aspects of home renovation. And with good reason: The wrong contractor can cost you time and money.
Everyone has heard of or read about horror stories of contractors who accepted a deposit but didn’t show up to work; did a shoddy job that someone else needed to fix; took forever to complete a project; or jacked up a price estimate to three or four times the original amount.
No wonder people often put off renovating their homes.
It’s crucial to connect with a professional, high-quality contractor who will be with you every step of the way – from the time the first wall is torn down to when the last nail is driven.
Here are some tips to help you along the way:
- Know what you want. If your project is big, like a home addition, you may want to look for a general contractor who will hire out subcontractors. A specialty contractor, meanwhile, will focus on smaller projects, like cabinets, plumbing or countertops.
- Make a budget. Research the kind of materials you like so that when estimates start coming in, you have a cost estimate and action plan already in mind. The key to low-stress is a few surprises as possible.
- Look at different quotes. But don’t assume the lowest price is the best. This is your home, not a Black Friday sale. You want a contractor with plenty of experience and expertise in the area of renovation you’re considering. Someone just starting out might be cheaper, but he or she may not have the experience you need to get a high-level job completed the way you want it.
- Communicate. A good contractor will answer your questions and address your concerns with professionalism, knowledge and ease. Make sure you are comfortable around the person and his or her team; they will be in your home for weeks if not months.
- Check references. Ask to see examples of completed work. Ask your friends and family about contractors you’ve come across. Meet with contractors over the phone and in person, and look at completed work projects. You also should check with your local Better Business Bureau for disputes with clients or colleagues.
Choosing the right contractor can make a big difference for your home renovation project. Take the appropriate steps, do your homework and ask a lot of questions. If you do, you’re bound the find an amazing contractor who will help you create the home of your dreams.