Renovating your home can be both a joyful and transformative experience, provided things go well. On the other hand, if things don’t go as smoothly as planned remodeling your home can become your biggest nightmare. If you are one of the few with both home improvement and management experience you may be able to forgo hiring a general contractor, but for most people having an experienced project manager is crucial.
How to Hire a General Contractor
Bluntly, the contractor you select will make or break your remodeling project, as your contractor will control everything that happens on the job, such as the timeliness and quality of the work as well as the amount of stress you will have.
Ask family, friends and coworkers who have successfully completed a home remodeling project who they used as a contractor and if they were satisfied with the contractor’s performance. Also, check your local Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no complaints filed against your candidates. Once you have a list of at least three candidates interview each contractor.
When talking with contractors listen carefully as to how your prospects answer your questions. If they have a hard time communicating during the interview it may mean they will have trouble communicating on the job.
Find out how long the contractor has been doing business in the area and ask to see a business card. If the contractor is legitimately local the card should have a street address, and not just a P.O. Box. A contractor who has been working in the area for three years or more should have a network of suppliers and subcontractors already in place, and this is the main reason you want to hire a general contractor in the first place.
Ask for an itemized bid. Some contractors will prefer to only offer bottom-line price for the project, however this leaves you in the dark as to what you are being charged for each separate part of the project. As an example, if the plan called for wainscoting in the bathroom, but then you decide to do something different, it will be very difficult to determine how much the cost difference will be. Having an itemized bid will also make it much easier to compare the quotes of different contractors. If a contractor gives you an argument over itemizing a bid it should be seen as a warning sign. Finally, find out of the bid is the actually fixed cost to do the project or just a rough estimate, which could mean the job could end up costing your thousands more than expected. Always insist on a fixed-price bid.
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