If you’re ready to make home improvements, there may be a few projects you can tackle on your own. However, complicated or extensive home improvement projects are ones you shouldn’t consider taking on without the help of a professional.
To ensure your project goes smoothly, it’s important to choose a home remodeling contractor who’s experienced, reputable, and reasonable. Use the following tips to ensure you hire the best contractor for the job so you’re left with pristine home improvements you’re proud to show off.
Before choosing a contractor, take the time to research local professionals in your area who are available for the job. Implement several different research methods to ensure you know what you’re looking for and you learn what you need to know about each contractor.
Before you hire a professional, use the following researching techniques:
- Word of mouth: Check in with friends or family members who have recently had work done. Ask for information on professionals they enjoyed working with and those you should avoid for your project.
- Internet reviews: Once you’ve identified some local contractors, look into their online customer reviews. If you uncover horror stories from past clients, it may be best to stay away.
- Books: If you don’t know much about home improvement projects, it may be beneficial to read some books about construction to get a better understanding of how the industry works and what to look out for when identifying a quality contractor.
Once you’ve identified a few contractors you think are matched to your job, write down any questions you have about the project. Asking a prospective remodeling contractor questions about a home project is crucial to understanding the professional’s process and parameters. Consider asking the following questions:
- Where do you source project materials from?
- How many similar projects have you completed?
- How long have you been in business?
- What aspects of the project will you hand off to subcontractors?
The contractor may also have questions to ask you as a potential remodeling client. Be prepared to answer questions about what you need to complete and when.
Even if you feel confident in a contractor’s ability to get the job done, you should still verify their credentials before hiring them. Make sure your contractor has the proper licensure to meet your state’s requirements.
Ask your potential contractor to see a certificate of insurance that outlines the coverage they carry. They should have contractor’s liability insurance and other coverage that protects the project from start to finish.
Create a Plan
Consider the goal for your home improvement project and map out the different stages your contractor will need to complete to get there. Consider the materials and labor that are included in a project to identify the scope and estimate how much money you should be willing to spend.
This helps you to get a better understanding of a realistic timeline and budget for the project. When you have a plan completed, it’s easier for your contractor to see your vision clearly and provide you with feedback and information.
Create an Emergency Fund
Even if you’ve developed a detailed plan for your project, anything can go wrong with home improvement. Be prepared for unexpected emergencies with an emergency fund that’s not included in your project budget.
In 2018, U.S. homeowners spent an average of $7,560 on home improvement. Learning how to save money during a remodel is important and implementing some money-saving strategies throughout the project will leave you better prepared to address any unexpected issues. However, it’s also crucial to have some funds tucked away so you can complete the project, even if it goes over budget.
In some cases, project cleanup isn’t included in your contractor’s estimate. Cleanup refers to hauling away old materials or repairing drywall or turf damage that may occur while workers are completing a job. Consider the best ways to clean up after a construction job and don’t forget to include expenses associated with this task when calculating your overall project budget.
Get Everything In Writing
When a contractor provides a project proposal, every detail should be recorded in writing. This includes the materials they need to purchase, the labor they need to hire, and time to complete each phase.
If plans change as the contractor is working on the project, request an amended proposal in writing. This ensures you and the contractor understand the constraints and expectations of the project and you can both refer to the same document as needed.
Once you’ve hired a contractor, it’s best to let them and their crew work. However, it’s also a good idea to periodically visit the construction site to take a peek at the progress they’re making.
When you stop by and check out your contractor’s work, you can ensure they’re on schedule and that they’re following your instructions for the project. While it’s important not to be in the crew’s way, visiting the site makes your presence known, shows you intend to remain involved, and proves that you’re invested in its completion.
Even if your contractor is proactive and provides regular updates on your project, it’s also important to monitor the progress yourself. When you take the time to check in on your project, you ensure the contractor is following the parameters you agreed upon, that the work being performed is of high quality, and that the contractor is keeping the project on track.
Once the project is complete, conduct a final walkthrough to inspect the work. Pay attention to every detail, including the materials used, the finishes installed, and the quality of the work.
Before you pay your contractor and consider the job completed, it’s important that you’re completely satisfied with every inch of completed work. Consider even the smallest details, such as a paint slipup or uneven tile, and bring them to your contractor’s attention. Your contractor should be more than happy to fix every problem that arises until you agree that the project meets your standards.
When you hire a contractor to complete home improvements, you’re passing off your project to a professional. If you follow these tips for hiring and working with a contractor, your project should be completed with ease and you’re more likely to be happy with the final result.