With years of experience in the industry, I’ve had the opportunity to encounter a wide variety of projects on behalf of an even wider variety of people. I’ve seen it all, folks, and I’m well aware of the fact that getting a home renovation project off the ground can be a daunting task. There are decisions to be made, family input to consider budgets to balance.
One aspect of the project that should not be difficult is hiring a qualified and capable contractor. In fact, doing so will actually alleviate much of the stress inherent in tackling a home renovation project (or any construction project, really).
Ideally, you want to find a contract who will conduct themselves appropriately, while also delivering a high standard of work. Contractors can come in a variety of price ranges, but the cost itself is irrelevant. It is absolutely essential that your contractor provides, or even exceeds, value for your payment. If you pay for high quality service, then you should plan to receive nothing less than that.
Behaviour, quality and cost are of course top factors to consider when hiring a contractor, but how do you go about finding those qualities?
Here are a few tips:
Get referrals. Referrals from family, friends, coworkers and neighbours can prove invaluable. Who better to assess the abilities of your prospective hire than those who have hired him (or her) previously?
If you can’t find anyone to give you a suggestion, there are typically also reviews and testimonials available on the internet.
Talk to the contractor. Ask him how long he has been working in the field, what experience he has and whether he enjoys what he does. The first two questions are self explanatory, but the third, in my opinion at least, can inform a lot about the mans character.
Get references. Inquire towards previous work the potential hire has done. Don’t be afraid to visit some of the previous jobs in person. You can look at the work and also talk with the reference to figure out how pleased they were with the workmanship.
Obtain quotes. After shortlisting some builders, try to obtain quotes, as well as services offered, and compare them against one another. Inquire into any potential fees in regards to site maintenance, clearance and material supplies as well as whether planning permission and Building Regulations approval is required.
Keep details of the job in writing. A contract will help both you and the contractor understand the job and is highly recommended. It can also be useful for future reference. Be sure to include payment terms, so as to avoid future disputes, which can be unpleasant for both parties involved.
Do not pay upfront. Exceptions to this are if the task is sizable or if special materials must be purchased.
Ask about insurance. You want a builder that is covered.
Best of luck on your new build!