Your Guide to Selecting a Quality Contractor
It’s finally time to design that dream kitchen you’ve been envisioning for years…
You need an addition to accommodate your growing family…
Storm damage has left your home compromised…
Converting the basement into a functional play room has become more daunting than expected…
Your tired walls could use a fresh coat of paint…
We’ve all been in at least one of these scenarios, and despite which you relate to most, one thing remains true, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a contractor.
This should be an exciting time as you begin to make your vision of home a reality. However, there are so many contractors to choose from and for years, you’ve heard the horror stories of homeowners getting taken advantage of by contractors. So where do you begin?
We’re here to help! We’ve done the research and put together a comprehensive guide to selecting a quality contractor for your next home project!
- Select 2-3 strong candidates and interview them- When you begin to search local contractors, you may be surprised to discover just how many options are available to you! We suggest narrowing it down and selecting 2-3 strong candidates to invite to your home, discuss the project with and who can provide you with a quote. In most cases, contractors provide a quote and initial consultation for free. Not sure which candidates to select? Just like with anything else, it pays to do your research. Find out who your friends and family recommend, research the company’s website and social media pages—do they have good reviews?, are they members of any local organizations like the Better Business Bureau, The Chamber of Commerce, or Home Advisor, etc.? Often times, businesses go through an extensive interview process before they’re approved to be a part of these accredited business groups.
- Ask them this list of questions- Now that you’ve made your selections and set-up the appointments, what’s next? Gather your facts for a great interview! Here’s a list of questions we recommend asking the contractor during the interview:
- Are you insured and licensed? At the state level, Texas requires contractors to carry only general liability insurance. Additionally, it’s not required by law, but it’s recommended that the contractor’s policy is for coverage $1 Million dollars or above. General liability insurance covers any catastrophes that could happen to your home during the process of the construction project. By law, you’re at liberty to ask to see proof of insurance. Workers Compensation insurance is another great policy to look for. While not required by law, quality contracting companies typically will carry this coverage as well. This coverage helps cover any costs that may incur if an employee is injured or dies while working on your home project and protects you from a potential lawsuit being brought against you. If the contractors you are interviewing don’t carry any form of insurance, we recommend selecting someone else. In regards to licensing, be sure the contractor is a legitimate business registered with either a licensed DBA or as a corporation.
- Can you provide a written quote? Gone are the days of a hand shake agreement; it’s always best to have everything in writing. The contractor should provide a comprehensive quote outlining the scope of work, rough timeline and projected costs. If they do provide a written quote, be sure to read the fine print, especially concerning things like payment expectations. If they’re asking for an upfront deposit, be especially sure that you’ve done your diligence in confirming that they are a reputable company.
- Can you explain the process? Don’t be afraid to ask for an overview of their typical process. How quickly after the initial meeting can you expect a quote? , what’s their current project schedule looking like?, do they typically focus on one project at a time, or will they be leaving your home mid-project to start another? These are all crucial to ensure you’re not left hanging with a disrupted living space.
- Do you have references and a portfolio? It’s always reassuring to hear first-hand experiences from their current or previous customers. Ask for a list of references and call them! Find out what they liked the most and the least about their overall experience. Additionally, if the contractor does not have an online portfolio on their website, ask to see some photos of their work. They should be displaying some of their best work for you to see. If it looks less than average, that’s a red flag!
- What’s your warranty on labor and materials? Do they stand behind their work? Will they answer your call if you call them a month after the project is completed with a concern? Typically contractors offer at least a one year warranty.
- Share your vision with them-This is the fun part and really helps the contractor fully meet your expectations. Do you have a Pinterest or Houzz inspiration page? Share it with them! Contractors who have the tools to provide a comprehensive quote will be able to price materials and time accordingly, protecting you from any surprises along the way! It’s a great sign when the contractor is interviewing you, just as much as you’re interviewing them. Are they asking leading questions to further gain understanding of your vision and likes/dislikes? Someone who spends the entire time talking about themselves, likely won’t have strong communication/listening skills throughout the entire project!
Regardless of the size of your home project, you deserve a great experience. There are lots of happy customers who have had great success with their home projects, simply, by selecting the right, quality contractor to partner with them! Now, you too, can be one of the happy customers through using this article as your guide to a smooth and AMAZING experience!