How to choose a contractor

You might be thinking about doing some renovations to your home, or maybe your home needs some repairs. At any rate, you’ll need to hire a contractor. It can be stressful trying to find the right person to do the job and work on your house. Your home is your place, your, well, house! You want someone you can trust to work on your house, of course. Here are a few considerations if you need to choose a contractor, no matter how big or small the project might be.

How to choose a contractor to work on your house.

1. Make a list.

You’ll probably want to start by making a list of potential contractors that could work on your house – contractors that seem reputable and trustworthy. Whether you’ve gotten recommendations from family and friends, done some research online, or called local businesses you know about already, you should get yourself organized by making a list. That way you’ll be able to reach out to likely candidates when you’re ready.

Then you can get down to business and start asking questions that will help you choose a contractor!

2. Ask lots of questions.

You’ve also got to know what questions to ask so that you know you’re picking the right person. It can feel awkward to ask so many questions, but just be polite about it. Contractors know that they have to work closely with their clients, so they should understand if you want to have a real conversation about the project before making any decisions. So, sit down with them and take some notes. They should be happy to answer your questions.

Here are a few things that you might want to ask:

  • Is your company licensed and registered with the state? Hey, it’s important to know if the contractor has the right credentials for the job. They should have all the licensing they need.
  • Are you going to work full-time on the project? Probably helpful to know if you’re going to have contractors around non-stop.
  • Will you need to hire subcontractors for the job? Things can get a little more complicated if there are subcontractors involved, and it can mean you need to ask a few more questions.

Pro tip: If the contractor hires subcontractors, you may want to get a lien release or lien waiver from the contractor, subcontractor, and even supplier. That’s because the contractors must pay the subcontractors on time…and if they don’t, the subcontractor can put a lien on your house.

  • What kind of permits will be needed? You need to know what sort of permits you’ll need for your project. That way you’ll be prepared.
  • How long is it going to take to complete the project? The contractor may have an idea of a time frame for your project, but you also may want to ask if they can guarantee a date for completion of the project.

These are just some general questions you may want to ask when you choose a contractor, but if you have any specific questions be sure to add them to the list.

Choose a contractor carefully

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3. Check if the contractor has the proper insurance.

The contractor should also have the right insurance to cover the risks of the job. Do they have general liability insurance? What about worker’s compensation insurance? The contractor should be happy to show you some proof of their coverage. Insurance is important.

4. Get written bids from prospective contractors.

Once you’ve done all the legwork, it’s time to get bids (in writing) from the various contractors you’re considering. If you have a list, you might want to get bids from three or more potential businesses. The bids should have the following information:

  • Materials
  • Labor costs
  • Timeframe for the completion of the job

This way you can review the bids all at once. It can’t hurt to have multiple options for your project as you choose a contractor.

5. Check references.

Can they provide references from past clients? If so, you might want to reach out to a few of them. That way you can see if they were satisfied with the work the contractor did. They can share their experience working with a particular contractor.

It’s a big deal to choose a contractor. Don’t be afraid to take your time – you’ll need to do research and gather your bids. You want to feel comfortable with the contractor you choose, so be sure to choose someone who will treat your house the same as they would treat theirs.

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