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8 tips on Hiring the Right Contractor

If you are wanting to hire a contractor then no matter if it’s for roof restorations, an extension or just electrical rewiring, you need to ensure that they are qualifed and won’t scam you out of your money. But how can you do this? Here are our top tips when looking for a contractor.

1. Get Recommendations Start with your friends and family.You can also talk with a building inspector or your realtor who’ll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements and do great work on time & on budget

2. Do Phone Interviews Once you’ve assembled a list make a quick call to each of your prospects and ask them the following questions:

• Do they take on projects of your size? • Can they give you a list of previous clients? • How many other projects would they have going at the same time? • How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s availability, reliability, how much attention they’ll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.

3. Meet Face to Face Based on the phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. It’s crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don’t let personality fool you. Check in with your cities local Better Business Bureau to make sure contractors don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

4. Investigate the Facts Now that you’ve narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But don’t rely on results alone. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner’s property?

5. Make Plans and Get Estimates You have your short list of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it’s time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials & labor. Generally materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent. If you’re looking to raise funding for your project and you still haven’t sold your old home, plan to do that first (but remember to leave yourself a house to live in) gives cash for homes in Seattle if you’re needing to cover costs quickly.

6. Set a Payment Schedule Payment schedules can also speak to a contractor’s financial status and work ethic. If they want half the bid up front, they may have financial problems or be worried that you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen the work. For large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been completed.

7. Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide

“Throw out the lowball bid,” … “This contractor is probably cutting corners or, worse, desperate for work”—hardly an encouraging sign in a healthy economy. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal or greater role in your decision. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it’s better to spend more and get someone you’re comfortable with.

8. Put It in Writing Draw up a contract that details every step of the project: payment schedule; builders insurance and worker’s compensation payments; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used. Insisting on a clear contract isn’t about mistrust, it’s about insuring a successful renovation. Finally, remember that as soon as a change is made or a problem uncovered, the price just increased and the project just got longer. The four most expensive words in the English language? “While you’re at it….”



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