When you have a dream project in mind, you want to find a professional who is perfect for the job. In order to do that, you must learn what to look for in a contractor. Plenty of people have a horror story of a project gone wrong, but there are also lots of ways you can avoid that problem. By following this advice, you can narrow down a list of great contractors and choose the one most likely to make your remodeling dream come true.
Ask Family and Friends for Recommendations
Asking friends and family members for recommendations is a great place to start. Even if you have never remodeled a home before, you probably know a few people who have. Find out who they worked with, how the project went and what they thought at the end. It is worth taking any advice from a non-professional with a grain of salt. You would want to know if a company that your relative hired skipped out without finishing the work. When it comes to minor complaints, though, you should keep in mind that not every contractor will be a perfect fit for every homeowner. Your goal is to find the one that will work best for you and your project, which is why you should aim to interview at least a few.
Make Phone Calls and Schedule a Consultation
For people living in most regions, it should not be too difficult to form a list of companies you would like to consider. Your next task involves reaching out to them to get more information or schedule a consultation. In many cases, a home improvement contractor will have a form on their website that you can fill out to get a return call. Pay attention to the response interval, as this can tell you how much they want to get your business. It’s not uncommon to wait a day or two before you hear back. If you are waiting for weeks, however, you may need to look elsewhere. Be sure to schedule an in-person consultation, usually in your home. A contractor will not be able to provide sufficient detail about the project without it.
Browse a Portfolio
If the general contractor has a website, you may want to take some time to browse through a sample portfolio. Contractors who take special pride in their work often showcase their best projects in places that are easy for you to find. If they don’t have a website, look at their social media accounts as well. The portfolio shows you what words cannot: remodeled homes that may look just like what you want. Be sure to save the ones that you like the most, so you can talk to them about it during the consultation.
On the day that you have the consultation, you will want to get a lot of information about the company. It is best to make a list of things you need to know in advance so that you don’t forget anything important. Ask questions like:
What is your experience?
Do you have insurance?
Will you do most of the work or hire it done through subcontractors?
How would you approach this project?
What questions or concerns do you have about this role?
Asking all these questions and more helps you to know what to expect. It also makes it easier to distinguish one company from another and identify who belongs on your good contractors list.
Check for Licenses
As a general rule, you want your contractor to have a license for the work they plan to do. In the state of Tennessee, professionals need to have a license for contracting jobs above $25,000. Most major home remodeling projects cost at least that much, so you can safely assume that your contractor should have an active license. During the consultation, you should ask for proof of a contractor license. It is also worth searching for the license through the state, to verify that it is still current.
Follow Up on References
If you did not find a contractor through a personal recommendation, you may want to reverse the process and follow up on some of their references. It is not always easy to ask a complete stranger about their remodeling experience with the company, but it is usually worth it. Try to find out what they liked about the contractor and anything they wish could have gone differently. You may not discover any huge red flags, but you’ll probably get a sense of how the company operates with clients.
Get Estimates in Writing
Anyone can give you a back-of-the-napkin guess as to what your project will cost. To know how to budget for the project, you must get clear details about what a contractor expects you to spend. Confirm that all the aspects of the project are there. If any line item seems large or vague, request clarification. Asking for most formal communications, including the estimate, to happen in writing makes it easy to go back and verify if you are unsure about something. It also helps you to argue your case if there is a discrepancy. Most contractors will provide a written estimate or bid as a matter of course. Anyone who tries to persuade you to agree to work without it may not be trustworthy.
Locating a wonderful contractor for your home improvement project takes planning. At Wood Construction and Remodeling, we are confident that your search will lead you to the right source. To find out why we are one of the construction companies Johnson City, TN homeowners trust, get a free consultation today.