For as many good contractors that are out there (and there are a lot of good ones), there are just as many that you should watch out for. Here are some of our tips for picking the right contractor:
Trust your gut – We list this 1st for a reason. Just like in life, you are going to meet people that for reasons you cannot place give you a feeling of ‘maybe this is not the right fit’, follow that.
Are they ‘Legit’? – Do they have the appropriate insurances? Are they licensed with the state? These are things that you can, and should, ask for before making a final decision.
Understand your estimate/proposal – Sometimes the lowest bid is the lowest for a reason and it is important to understand what each quote includes and where you could potentially find surprises through the process.
DO they know what they are doing – This seems like a silly item to consider because you assume the answer is yes. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and we have been called into quite a number of projects to fix what other ‘professionals’ have done.
Get references – Seriously, and talk to someone more than their wife or cousin. You are going to want to ask previous and existing customers things like:
Would you use them again if you do another project?
Were they clean?
Did they stay on budget?
Did they communicate effectively?
Sub-contractors – Once this project is awarded, how much interaction will you have with the General Contractor? We have heard many stories about a project being awarded to Contractor A only for the homeowner to never see that person again; their only interaction going forward is with the sub-contractors. That may be fine with you but having clear expectations up front about who is going to be working with you is important.
A little information goes a long way and we hope these thoughts will help you in getting started on the right foot!