Finding a Good Contractor
Being able to find a good, ethical contractor is not a difficult task. All it takes is a little homework, some advance preparation and some simple common sense, and you are going to have a great contractor and a wonderful addition to your home in short order. Here are a few simple suggestions on what to look for while you are going around and interviewing your potential contractors.
- Preplan. Prior to even beginning the task of locating a contractor, you are going to need to know what you want. This means that you should have a plan of exactly what you are looking for. Make the plan as detailed as you possibly can by including drawings, blue prints, samples of material prices, time frame, primary budget and backup budget to name a few necessities. This is going to help you and your contractor know exactly what you are looking for in the job.
- Reviews. Now that you are ready to begin looking for your new contractor, start gathering information on different contractors in the area. Do this by talking with friends, neighbors or family who have recently gone through a remodel or repair project. Some other locations for good intelligence would be with your local building inspector's office, building supply store and better business office. In fact, you should ask all of the above, and the best contractors to bring to your next step would be the ones that were named by multiple sources. These would have the best reputation for doing good work.
- Interview. From the list of contractors you reviewed, select the three that look the best. Set up a meeting with these three and submit to them the plans that you drew up earlier. Ask them to submit a bid on the project. This bid should include both cost estimates, but a time estimate and schedule as well. While you are talking to them about the project use the time to get to know them. This is an important part of selecting a contractor, since you are going to be working fairly close with them for the next several weeks, you really should make sure that you can work with them.
- Contracts. Once you have determined which of the contractors that you are going to be working with, you need to draw up a contract. The contract's purpose is to protect you and the contractor both from any misunderstanding. With that goal in mind, the contract should be a written agreement stating the basics of how, what and when the different parts of the project are gong to be completed, what happens if there is any lateness, list and cost of materials and so on. If it is not written down, then there could be some nasty surprises later on, and you don't want to have that happen.
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