Don't Choose a Contractor Just on Price

Don't Choose a Contractor Just on Price

Making the right decision about a contractor can mean the difference between realizing the home of your dreams, or living in a remodeling nightmare. The average remodeling job can cost thousands of hard-earned dollars. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions.

Choosing a contractor can be a little like shopping for a car; sometimes you get a good deal; other times you drive off the lot with a lemon. Before choosing an estimate that is too good to be true, consider these 10 questions:

  1. Does the contractor have a working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in your area?
  2. Does he understand what products and materials are the most appropriate for your home and budget?
  3. Does the contractor offer numerous options, demonstrating experience with a variety of materials, products and techniques?
  4. Will the contractor arrange for the building permit?
  5. Is the contractor offering a warranty? If so, for what and how long?
  6. Will he agree to start and finish the job as close as possible to your budget and timetable?
  7. Does the contractor maintain a permanent mailing address, phone number and pager or answering machine?
  8. Does he carry all the necessary licensing for your state and insurance that will protect you from claims arising from property or job site injury?
  9. What kind of reputation does the contractor have among other contractors such as electricians, plumbers and building materials suppliers?
  10. Will the contractor offer a list of references that will give you the opportunity to see the completed work? Find out whether the contractor maintained a reasonably neat job site, provided regular cleaning and hauled away any trash, and whether they completed the job on time and within the budget.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Leonardo wrote:
I agree with Darren's answer. Sounds like you will hire a genreal contractor. Ask them for their license and insurance documentation up front. Check their license number online. They will have to pull at LEAST electrical and plumbing permits and coordinate inspections with the city/county where you live. The biggest mistake people make is not having clearly outlined expectations and a written contract. Have drawings done by the contractor (or someone else if necessary) to review everything to get on the same page so there are no surprises. I would suggest including time-frame stipulations in the contract. Many unqualified contractors take advantage of homeowners in this regard for example, not showing up for weeks at a time. And finally a reputable contractor will NOT ask for money up front, but rather payments made based on construction progress. If the contractor cannot afford to buy materials up front to do the work, then they are not financially stable enough (or experienced enough) to be trusted.

Fri, November 30, 2012 @ 7:08 PM

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