As you plan to build your dream home, picking the right contractor is a crucial initial step in the planning process. Understandably, you want to ensure you assess their work quality beforehand, put in writing what you have in mind, and have a mutual agreement about the project. Lastly, you need to check if the contractor you’re dealing with is insured and licensed.
Here’s a list of the things to consider when choosing a contractor for your home.
Get Several Estimates
It’s vital to know that you have options. Talk to at least three or four contractors in your area and get written estimates from each one of them. Make sure to compare like for like after getting several estimates. Identify their work methods, building materials, and other elements that may vary by provider. However, be wary of estimates that are too low or too high.
If Possible, Deal With Local, Licensed Contractors
Hiring local contractors is a great way to help the community. And it also comes with several advantages. It’s easier to get in touch with local contractors should building problems arise in the future. Plus, they are more familiar with the local areas building codes. Make sure to get the contractor’s local address. That way, you can track them down easily if you need assistance. Be cautious of contractors who don’t want to leave their office details and go door-to-door to meet clients.
Check the Contractors Previous Work
One of the best ways to determine if a contractor is worth the shot is by checking their previous work. Find out if they specialize in any kind of contractor work, such as commercial or residential buildings. Do they provide excellent customer service? Do they have their own equipment like tracked asphalt pavers and other heavy-duty vehicles? If possible, ask around about their reputation and how have they been doing in their years in the business. Often, contractors with more than five years of expertise are preferable.
Put Everything in Writing
Even though a contractor may seem okay to deal with, it’s still vital to put everything in writing for your protection. After making a decision, create a detailed contract and ensure that its content is clear for both parties. It will be wise to consider a lawyer’s help to review the contract before signing it, mainly if the project involves a massive cost.
The contract must include the following:
- A comprehensive description of the work to be finished and the price for items to be purchased
- Payment schedules
- The insurance details of the contractor
- The estimated start and completion dates of the project
- Signatures of both parties. (Take note not to sign a contract with empty spaces or sections)
Both parties involved should acknowledge if there are any changes in the contract. Verify if the contractor has accomplished all necessary permits for building the project. Anyone who decides to cancel the contract should follow the agreed cancellation arrangement included in the contract. It would also be wiser to send or receive a written cancellation notification as proof.
Take Your Time
Whether you’re looking for a contractor to build a residential or commercial project, it’s critical to take your time. After all, you’re going to spend a hefty price on it. Make sure to sign with someone worth it. Do not feel pressured into making an impulsive decision, especially before signing a contract. If the contractor asks you to pay a costly deposit right away, it’s time to be cautious.
Take your time to understand the entire contract and everything written on it. Ask a second or third opinion from people you trust to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Check the Contractor’s Insurance and Bonding
A licensed contractor should be insured and bonded. Make sure to ask for their COI or certificate of insurance, which must include the insurance company’s name, policy number, and its limits. You can even get in touch with the insurance provider to verify the certificate’s authenticity. Here’s what you need to remember: DO NOT make a deal with a contractor who cannot provide proper insurance. Without insurance, you will be responsible for injuries or accidents that might happen during the construction.
Do Not Pay Up-front
Many contractors nowadays ask for up-front payment. If this is the case, eliminate them from your choices right away. Paying up-front before the project ends is a big mistake as it does not guarantee that they will do the job correctly. Besides, it takes away your right to ask for renovations, primarily if their job doesn’t satisfy you.
Looking for a contractor is a serious task. As mentioned, you have to take your time and not make any hasty decisions. Ask trusted friends, family, or professionals for their inputs to ensure that you’re dealing with the right contractor.