If you are in the process of of hiring a contractor for your home building or remodeling job and you've already narrowed down to a few contractors that seem reliable and are well recommended, keep the following steps in mind before you hire a contractor and take the whole process to the next stage.
Discuss your project details before you hire a contractor
Ask For Written Estimates
A written estimate will spell out the details of the prices quoted to you and is a good way to make sure that items that you expect to be included actually are and that there are no additional hidden costs. Written estimates from at least 3 contractors will help you compare the charges that you are being quoted and the reasons for the difference of price between contractors. It is not always best to go with the cheapest quote as it may not cover all your requirements, a written estimate will help you clearly ascertain the quality of input materials and inclusions in work and therefore clarify the difference between the cheapest contractor and a slightly more expensive one.
Asking the contractor questions like how many other projects like yours they have handled in the past? How many were completed to the client's satisfaction and on time? Ask if the contractor is ready to provide references for you to confirm his claims as well as check on finished quality and customer satisfaction. Other important questions are inquiries regarding whether your project requires a permit and if the contractor will ensure that the permit is acquired and work completed to local specifications.
Ask questions about the details of the project work
Larger home building projects are better handled by a contractor that carries insurance to indemnify you against any accidents and damage during construction. In larger and more specialized works general contractors may hire specialist sub-contractors. Some contractors may hire a sub contractor to execute your entire project, from start to finish, and it is important to ask if this is the case with the contractor that you are planning to hire or if they are hiring any sub-contractors for various parts of the work.
Discuss Your Payment Options In Advance
Most contractors will ask for a down payment before work begins. The amount of down payment should be decided mutually and should be based on the cost of inputs and labor needed to begin and continue work in a timely manner. It is advisable to make graduated payments contingent on the progress in work so that delays in work lead to a delay in payment to the contractor, essentially creating an incentive for the contractor to deliver on time. If you are making cash payments it is important to take receipts to keep track of payments and avoid misunderstandings and confusion at a later date.
Get A Written Contract
A written contract will spell out all the details of your project, for instance, a written contract will state a start date for the project and an estimated end date, payment schedules and payments to sub-contractors and suppliers will be spelled out clearly, all details like brands, model numbers, size, type and quantity of materials to be used will be specified. The written contract will also state the contractors obligations for the duration of the project like acquiring permits, clearing the work area of waste materials and any applicable charges for the same.
Get a written contract
A written contract will also state how unforeseen changes in the work schedule will be handled and the costs that will follow. Any changes that may affect the work schedule will carry extra costs and the process for handling changes should be clearly listed upfront.