If you are looking to renovate your home, you will probably need a general contractor. While it may be tempting to do it yourself, sometimes home improvement projects can be extremely time-consuming to your already busy schedule, or it may even require more experience and skill to execute than you may have. If you don’t want to get in over your head and want the job done quickly and efficiently, then you should hire a general contractor. Here are some tips on choosing a general contractor for your next home improvement project.
Ask for recommendations
You probably know someone who has recently had a home improvement project done by a professional contractor. If you have even witnessed the completed project first-hand and liked the work, ask for a recommendation. Friends and family members will be your most dependable source for an honest opinion on the customer service and workmanship of the masonry contractor they used.
Do your research
Even though your friend or family member may have given you a recommendation, you should still do your homework. What worked for them, may not work for you. You should go online and search for reviews about the contractor that was recommended and also look for other contractors in your area to compare. You should narrow your search down to three contractor candidates.
Set up an initial phone interview
When you have narrowed down your search to at least three, you should call and interview each prospective general contractor to make comparisons. There are a few questions you should ask. Do they use subcontractors and are the subcontractors also licensed and insured? Can they give you references? How many projects are they working on at the same time? Are they able to handle the size of your project? After you are satisfied with the answers to your questions, set up an in-person meeting to discuss estimates and pricing with your top candidates.
Meet in person
Once you have your contractor on site, you want to make sure you get a proper estimate. Your general contractor should take their time in looking at your proposed renovation so that you can get an accurate estimate on how much the job is going to cost. He should be measuring, asking you questions and looking at every angle in the room you are about to renovate. Meeting your contractor in person can also help you gauge how thorough he is and the level of customer service that he will deliver.
Get a quote in writing
Once you have gone over all the details of your project with your general contractor, you should get your estimate in writing. The quote should have every detail listed showing the payment schedule and pricing, insurance and workers compensation stipulations, the timeline from start to projected finish and materials that are going to be used. You should be able to understand the estimate clearly. If there is something listed on the estimate that you don’t understand, make sure your general contractor clarifies it for you. Make sure all the fees and taxes are listed as well. No one wants an extra bill upon completion of their renovation project.