I have been thinking about something that I think most of us have gone through, or will have to go through. It is actually something that I have learned many aspects about in the last year that could be beneficial to others.
The question is: How do you pick a contractor? This is not a single or quick blog post. I will make a few of these in this series and offer you my best advice. Please feel free to comment or email any questions you may have, or if you are in the area and prefer face to face, then come see me, and we can talk in person.
This can be a process that can take it’s toll on your nerves and patience. However, this is incredibly vital to the success and life of your home. It doesn’t matter if you have a small job or need your house built from the ground up, you are making, or have made, a very large financial investment. The last thing you will want is to find out after all of that money spent is that the job needs to be redone due to poor workmanship. Let Mandi make you a cup of coffee, and let’s chat for just a moment about how to pick the correct contractor!
We will begin by assuming that you already know what your budget is, and that you have priced it out to make sure that you are being realistic and fair to the contractor and yourself.
Jobs like replacing windows look pretty easy on how-to videos, but require a lot of time and skill. You should not expect something like that to only cost a small sum of money. Remember that you get what you pay for, and as we will cover later, the cheapest does not equal the best. Also remember that the windows cannot continuously bear the weight of the house on a thin piece of glass. Make sure your contractor understands that the windows need the support of proper headers and your whole house cannot sit on this half inch of glass for long. It is okay to have them explain how they will support the house above the windows. It should be simple for them to explain what holds the house up and off of the windows. Even my youngest understands this.
Finding a Contractor
Internet search engines are a great tool in searching for contractors of various kinds, but be sure that you read reviews, if they are available (ot just the star ratings). When you read the reviews, if you see some negative, but most positive, you could conclude there may have been a miscommunication, or another issue. If the reviews are pretty even, you may want to move on to the next one. Contractors can absolutely have bad days and make mistakes and learn from those, but are you willing to let your project and money be the lesson?
Also, it’s good to ask people you know and trust if they have ever used a contractor, and if they have advice as to who and/or who not to use. Whether it is advice for or against a contractor, you need to ask why they do or do not recommend them. This is important. If they recommend them based on biases like being related, or something that has nothing to do with their work, that one is still a blank slate. If they do not recommend them for something that has nothing to do with their work, the same blank slate applies.
You can also give us a call (512-807-8777), and we can advise you on the contractors that we would like to use again and why. While we may not tell you the ones we do not suggest (because that is unprofessional), we are very happy to share the names and numbers of the ones we would use again. The only exception to that would be if you need a specialized service, and one of our contractors does not offer that kind of work.
Here’s a real life tale of making a choice. I decided against a contractor after asking a friend how her project turned out, and she invited me to look. It was ridiculously horrible is all I can say, and unfortunately the damage that was done in there would take a whole new roof, ceilings, and a way to kill all of the black mold from not replacing the wet pieces. The home is not valuable enough to justify the cost of these extensive repairs. That is a very real risk that happens to people every single day, and people can lose enormous amounts of money this way. In my friend’s case, she will have to sell her home for a fraction of what it is worth, acknowledge the black mold and cut her losses.
Viewing a sample of their work is probably the best way to determine if someone’s work is up to your standards! That’s how I picked who is working on my future house!
Now that you’ve narrowed your list to a few good potential contractors, what do you do next? Come back tomorrow to find out!
Hermann says please like and share!