Post details: Finding the Right Contractor

02/23/05

Permalink 11:20:47 am, Categories: Articles, 469 words   English (US)

Finding the Right Contractor


From the magazine, Remodeling Planning Guide
Hiring a professional to help create your dream can be scary -- but it needn't be, if you follow your instincts and this advice.

Get ReferralsGet Referrals

Your best means of finding the right contractor is to ask relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Most people love to talk about their remodeling experiences, so gathering information on potential remodelers shouldn't be difficult.

Here are some questions to ask people who have remodeled:

- Were they happy with the contractor's finished product?
- Were they comfortable communicating with the professional?
- Did he or she respond to their concerns?
- Did the crews show up on time and clean up at the end of each day?
- Did the subcontractors (such as the electrician and the tile installer) show the same level of courtesy and professionalism the architect or contractor displayed?
- Was the project completed within budget? If not, did they know why? Many people with whom you talk will be uncomfortable discussing how much they spent, but you can certainly ask whether they thought the professional delivered on his or her promises.
- Was the job completed on time?
- Did the contractor propose changes midstream that they liked or disliked? Steer clear of contractors who tried to impose their visions on projects at the expense of homeowners' wishes.

If you're new to your neighborhood or simply don't know anyone who has done any remodeling, check with lenders, architects, and real estate agents for names. Or, check out Internet search engines for contractor referrals via the keyword remodel. Be sure to carefully check references and licenses of names you receive from any source.

Meet the Candidates

Once you have a list of potential candidates, take the following steps.

Make Phone Calls
Call all of the contractors who sound promising. Describe your project and ask if they have constructed similar ones in the past year; if so, ask if they have a portfolio showing their work for you to peruse.

Some homeowners let their contractor refer prospects to them for questions on how the project went, or even to show off their new spaces. If so, take them up on their offer -- nothing beats seeing the actual work.

Let the candidates know your project start date and your budget, if you have that figured out. If you're pressed for time and aren't worried about small details, try finding a contractor who is known for working quickly. If you'd rather the contractor take longer and devote more attention to your project, find one who takes that approach.

After you have conducted phone interviews, narrow the field to the top few who impressed you most (as well as those who were available, etc.). Eliminate anyone who didn't return your calls or didn't seem interested in your project.

Better Homes and Gardens

FIND HELP FOR THIS PROJECT

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