Tips for Selecting the Right Contractor

January 6, 2015

You’re ready to begin a remodeling project in your home. You’ve set a budget, you have ideas for inspiration, and you’re ready to go. But how do you select the right contractor? With many qualified firms to choose from, this can be a daunting process. Here are some great tips on how to get started. Hint: we believe #7 is the  most important, so be sure to keep that one in mind!

1. Seek recommendations. Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area.

2. Select a few contractors based on recommendations. Here are some important questions to ask: Do you take on projects of this size/nature? Can you provide references? Can you give me a list of previous clients?

3. Be familiar with your potential contractors’ accreditations. Abbreviations behind your contractor’s name can represent certifications from national trade organizations and that company belonging to certain organizations that bound them to a strict code of ethics.

4. Have a face-to-face meeting with potential contractors. Discuss the specifics of your project. Be aware of how you perceive them. Can they answer your questions appropriately? Do they act in a professional manner?

5. Now that you’ve narrowed your list, put your research to use. See previously completed projects and consult former clients. Utilize websites like Angie’s List for reviews. If you can, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner’s property?

6. Be cautious of low bids. You don’t want to work with a contractor who is cutting corners or who is simply desperate for work. Understand that price reflects quality.

7. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal or greater role in your decision. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he/she communicate. All things being equal, it’s better to spend more and get someone you’re comfortable with.

8. Draw up a contract that details every step of the project: payment schedule; proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills) from all subcontractors and suppliers. Insisting on a clear contract isn’t about mistrust. It’s about insuring a successful renovation.

9. Keep your eye on the prize – while remodeling projects can be stressful at times, the end result is worth it.

If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form by clicking here. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page!

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