How To Choose A Contractor For Your Home Improvement ProjectJun 18, 2021
One of the most important decisions you'll make when doing improvements to your BNB or Vacation Property is selecting the contractor to do the work. Although he might not be the least expensive bidder, a good contractor can save you thousands of dollars on your project.
Beware of these types of contractors:
- The disappearing contractor. If you choose unwisely, you might end up with a contractor that starts the job, does a little work, and then disappears with your money and never comes back to complete the job. Word-of-mouth recommendations are the best way to avoid getting involved with a vanishing contractor.
- The contractor who hires unskilled labor. Another unsavory tactic used by bad contractors is hiring cheap, unskilled labor to do the work on your home. Unfortunately, the result can be disastrous. Not only will you have lost your money that you paid the contractor for the work, but you'll have to hire a second contractor to come in and repair the damage.
- This expense can be easily avoided if you hire a reputable contractor in the first place. Although the more skilled contractor's rate will be higher, it can save you thousands of dollars to hire him from the start.
- The broke contractor or the thief. A huge warning signal of a bad contractor (or a skilled contractor who just is clueless about handling money) is being pushed to get your deposit well before the job starts or wanting or needing your deposit "right away" in order to purchase supplies. A broke contractor is living job to job, the equivalent of paycheck to paycheck, and that's not a good sign. He doesn't have the funds to purchase supplies, may even be in debt to suppliers, and can't pay his crew. These contractors are way more likely to take your money and run, leave a job half-finished, or rush through a job. Don't hire a broke contractor! There's only one thing worse and that's the thief. Theft of your personal property in your home can be a concern if you use a disreputable contractor or if he hires unsavory characters to do the work. Making sure they are licensed and insured is important. You can even have them get bonded if there is any risk of theft.
It's important to find out what you can about any contractor you're considering doing business with. A licensed contractor is a must (for many reasons including insurance) but doesn’t necessarily guarantee they are any good. Checking the better business bureau in your area for any complaints on the contractor you're considering can alert you to any unstable business practices.
Following these additional tips can help you choose a contractor that can save you money and do a beautiful job on your project:
- Call the local Better Business Bureau office. Inquire about any contractors you're interested in employing to ensure they have no pending, unresolved complaints against them.
- Educate yourself. Know what type of specialists you'll need, such as a plumber, electrician, or carpenter, to get the job done.
- Meet with prospective contractors. You want to get a "feel" for contractors you might be working with over several weeks' time.
- Obtain written estimates. Ensure you get written, itemized lists of the estimated costs for the materials and labor to complete your home improvement project. If you think something is priced too high, inquire about it. Never agree only on verbal statements your contractor makes. Get everything in writing, down to the smallest detail.
- Consider all aspects of getting your project completed. Does the contractor have the right credentials and certifications for the job? Are the estimated costs within your budget? Did you gain positive information about the contractor and are you comfortable with him?
- Sign an agreed-upon contract with payments spread out at project milestones. If the estimate meets your needs, you've gained positive information about the contractor and his credentials are what you want, it's time to sign. We set up a Pay Schedule within our contracts with bonuses for finishing early and penalties for finishing late. We NEVER pay in full until the job is done and inspected. Our deposit is only enough to cover materials and never more than half. Remember, a “good” contractor isn’t living paycheck to paycheck, so they aren’t desperately seeking funds.
- Ask your friends. The best way to find a competent professional is to ask your friends, family members and co-workers which contractors they've had a good experience with.
- Check with your local contracting board. Obtain a list of licensed contractors in your area. If someone is licensed, they've at least jumped through the hoops to get a reputable business going.
Choosing a contractor for your home improvement project requires some research and due diligence on your part, however, when you follow these action steps, you'll save money and be pleased with the reno!
© The Prosperity Process, LLC
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