Don’t Let Your Dream Renovation Become a Nightmare!
The most costly mistake a homeowner can make is hiring the wrong contractor.
It’s all too easy for consumers to fall for promises of great quality or low prices if you haven’t done your homework or a bit of research.
All of us from time to time have heard horror stories of contractors taking deposits and then not showing up to do the work, promising great workmanship and not being able to deliver or giving a quote for a project only to have the final cost spiral out of control with “extras”.
As a consumer you need to take time to educate yourself in choosing the right contractor for your project.
The only way to make sure you’re making the right choice is to do your homework. Protect yourself from the pitfalls of dealing with non reputable contractors. A poor renovation will cost you more and may cause other problems in your home that can end up costing you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Where to Start?
– Excerpts from the Better Business Bureau 7/2/2012
Your business or social network is a great place to start. Check websites like LinkedIn or Facebook to find people you may know. Ask people you trust for referrals to contractors.
Schedule an introductory meeting with three or more of your best prospects.
This will allow you the opportunity, by asking pointed questions, to verify that the contractor has experience with the specific project you are thinking of undertaking.
Ask for and check references thoroughly.
Reputable contractors should be able to provide references readily, while would-be-contractors will have few, if any, to offer. Also check to see if the contractor is accredited. Some associations like The Better Business Bureau do extensive background checks and their members usually must be in business for at least five years. They may also hold members to professional codes of conduct.
Is the contractor you’re considering licensed, bonded and insured?
Any reputable contractor who is serious about their business will make sure that they are following all laws and by-laws, including licensing, insurance and surety bonding.
Get a written quote.
Reliable contractors will provide a written, detailed proposal before the contract is signed. Without specifics you could end up losing valuable time and money.
Be clear about the contracted price.
Sometimes projects can deviate from their original plan. For example you may want to add or delete a contracted item. Make sure your contractor is open and flexible to these changes and is willing to adjust project costs accordingly. Any changes that go beyond the original scope of the project, should be agreed upon in writing with all costs being agreed upon by both paties before commencement. Beware of the contractor who asks for all of the money up-front. Depending upon the industry, it can be customary to pay as much as one-third to one-half in advance, with the rest due on specific dates or upon completion of the project.