Finding a trusted home improvement expert to help you with a project or remodel can be a big chore. Where do you start – and more importantly, how can you guarantee that the person you find is trustworthy? This post will walk you through the process of finding and hiring the perfect pro to help you with your next big project.
Ask Your Network for Referrals:
The best case scenario is always getting a trusted referral from someone you know, so start your search by asking friends, family and coworkers for referrals. If you get a couple of names, look them up on sites like HomeAdvisor, Yelp and Angie’s List to make sure they’re licensed and insured. You can also do a Google search to see if any reviews, positive or negative, come back.
Research Your Options:
If you weren’t able to find a good referral, it’s time to start doing some research on local pros. Again, HomeAdvisor andAngie’s List can be good places to start because they do some checking on your behalf to make sure the service providers listed are legitimate and trustworthy. You can also check out NextDoor to see if there are recommended service providers in your area that your neighbors have used before. As you scour lists of floor installers or renovation specialists, pick a few that look promising based on their ratings, price range and services offered, and jot down their website URL and contact information.
Get at Least Three Project Bids:
You price compare when you buy most things, and contractor service should be no exception. Use your original budget notes and send out a request to a handful of contractors to find out what your real costs will be. Be sure to get three or more detailed bids so you’re able to evaluate your options. In most cases, you should be able to submit a query through their website, but if you’re more of a phone person, a call can be a good way to make sure you communicate all the important details. Just make sure you get the quote itself delivered via email or text message so you have it in writing.
Keep in mind that the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. If you need someone with years of experience, you should expect to pay for it. Just remember as you evaluate quotes that a job well done the first time around can save you lots of money in the long run. If you find out a qualified contractor is going to cost more than you anticipated, ask them if they know of other material sources or do some shopping on your own. If you check local material warehouses, you may be able to save some cash on tangibles that you can allocate to service. As you evaluate who you want to work with, your end goal should be to try and pinpoint the perfect balance of service, price and value.
Ask the Right Questions:
When you hire someone, it’s important to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Ask lots of questions to make sure you’ve got the right fit, both with skill set and personality. Here are some ideas on what to ask.
Ask about experience:
Ask how long they’ve been in the business and what their specialties are. You can also ask for references, so you can reach out to ask other homeowners or flippers who have hired the company and ask how they performed. If a contractor is hesitant to give you references, that may be a bad sign.
Ask detailed questions about your project:
You need to be your own advocate and make sure you understand what’s involved in the project you’re asking your contractor to do. Once you know the basics of the process, come up with a list of questions that cover things that may impact your cost or timeline and get some answers. You want to find someone who can quickly produce high-quality work, not someone who is going to move slowly and be a source of frustration.
Ask for a problem-solving story:
Much like a job interview, getting an idea of how your contractor handled a tough job with lots of complications will give you good insight into their problem-solving skills. The tone of their voice when they answer the question will also indicate whether they get frustrated easily or hang on to negative situations, or if they can work through and move past challenges.
Get All The Project Details in Writing:
Always get payment terms, a job completion time estimate, project scope and any other relevant details (including mid-project changes) in writing. Doing so is not only good to have for future reference, but it will also help protect you if there’s every any kind of disagreement about the work that was done or the end result.
If you want more information, download a free copy of our comprehensive contractor hiring guide. It includes more details on each step of the process, as well as a list of websites you can use to find skilled contractors in your area. The book was initially created for San Diego residents, but the content is relevant for all homeowners looking for a great contractor.