Most of our quality family time is spent at home. So, it is imperative that our home layout and design provide most conducive environment for family to thrive. As our family and needs change, we need to make changes in the house. Unless you are into DIY, it is important to find a very good contractor for your home improvement project.
Here are some things to consider while finding the contractor:
- Ask for referrals from your community (sites like Nextdoor and Facebook have community or neighborhood pages). You will be able to gather a nice list of names of few companies.
- Ask referrals from your friends, family, and co-workers.
- Google or use services like Thumbtack/Home Advisor/Buildzoom/Pro.com to search for a contractor who serves your neighborhood.
- Go through the contractor’s website and read reviews specially the negative ones and how contractor has responded to the negative review.
- Some contractors feature previous similar projects with estimates on their (Lolark Contractor lists approximate estimate prices and recent projects on their page at https://lolarkcontractors.com). It is a good idea to go through that and see if this contractor’s work is in you budget range and their level of quality matches your expectations.
- Create a list of criteria you want your contractor to reflect.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- It is a particularly good idea to interview your contractors over the phone and discuss your project with them. See if they have done similar projects in past.
- Observe what kind of suggestions they are providing you.
- Are they being honest with you or they are just trying to get work from you?
- Ask them about various services they provide.
- Mention all your concerns with them and do not hold back.
- Do not be scared to discuss a price bracket with them so you will not have to waste time with someone who does not meet your price criteria.
- Interview at least 4-6 contractors even if you already have a contractor in mind because you’ll learn something new from each interview.
You will need to narrow down your search to 2-3 contractors. Remember to not always root for the cheapest bid from contractor. There is a big possibility that lowest quotes might not be the most reliable contractor. Also, the cheapest bid might be missing some scope other contractors have covered. Remember it is about getting the best for you, your family, and your home.
Here is an ideal process to hire the contractor after you have finalized your top 2-3 companies:
- Draw up a plan or sketch
This is the first and most essential step you need to take before looking for a contractor. If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. Write down what you want to get done, any design ideas you already have and at least a rough sketch on paper with some dimensions of the work you want to get done.
Depending on the scale of your project, create a design drawing, permit drawing or construction drawing. You can work with a professional architect to draw a detailed plan with essential information such as lighting, plumbing, interior design, and custom finishing. A detailed plan in hand will enable the contractor to give you the most accurate pricing.
General contracting companies like Lolark Contractors can take this stress off your hands. They can take your design ideas and rough sketch, hire an architect for you and get your project permitted.
- Is a Site Visit Required?
You or your contractor might feel that site visit is required to provide better estimate. It is possibility that some contractors charge site visit fee. If you feel strongly about getting a quote from this contractor based on initial phone interview, it might be worth paying the small fee. In most cases this fee is reimbursed as part of contract if the job is contracted with the same contractor.
Some contractors have Quote Request form on their website. If you fill the form with all details, in most cases your contractor can give pretty good estimate (2%-5% difference) without a site visit.
- Confirm the Contractor’s license and insurance
Everyone has heard horrendous stories about what can happen on a construction site or contractors that tear down a room and abandon the renovation.
Unfortunately, mishaps are bound to happen occasionally in this industry. Therefore, you need to ensure that your contractor is licensed and properly insured. You can find out if a contractor is insured by checking the license status online.
(Lolark contractors is licensed in Washington, check their license number on their site https://lolarkcontractors.com).
Do not be afraid to ask for a copy of the contractor’s license and insurance policy.
- Obtain Permits
Inquire from your contractor if your work requires a permit. Embarking on a project without proper permits can incur fine and cause problems when you want to sell your home.
Professional General Contractors are familiar with your city building permit requirement. If the contractor asks you to get the permit yourself or suggests that a permit is not necessary, that’s a red flag right there.
It is important that in this stage your contractor gives you a written scope of work with the cost of project. Review the scope in detail to make sure everything you want is included in the quote. More importantly than what is included, be sure to look at their exclusions as well. Compare all the 2-3 quotes you have received to make sure every contractor has included similar items so you can make more informed decision.
- Create a Timeline
Discuss and develop a timeline with your contractor to specify when each stage of the project will be completed. Then add a few days or weeks extra just in case; I’m not saying that contractors can’t meet up with deadlines, lots of contractors are very competent with this. But sometimes unknown things are discovered in renovations, or weather can affect certain project timeline.
- Contract and Payment Plan, with distinct
It is imperative to have written contract with your contractor. Do not let your contractor start a project or make any payment without a written contract. Contract should consist of scope of work for the project, payment milestone breakdown, project start date and approximate days it will take to finish the project. Make sure the terms in contract are as much in your favor as they are in favor of the contractor.
Do not pay cash! You can pay by check or credit card to enable you keep a paper trail of your transactions with the contractor. Make payments during the project upon completion of specific milestones.
- Project Start Date
Reliable contractors might have their hands full with various project, so don’t expect the contractor to start working immediately. Discuss a start date while signing the contract and confirm with contractor again as the decided date gets closer.
- Lay down ground rules
It is important to negotiate ground rules with the contractor. Discuss what time the workers can work at your home, where will trash be collected for duration of project, material storage location, smoking rules, what area need to be cleaned up at the end of each day and any other details that concern you.
10. Communicate with the Contractor Frequently
You might need to talk to your GC frequently especially if the project is a big one. If something comes up or you see a potential issue, do not hesitate to contact your contractor. It will be more difficult to fix a problem after your contractor has moved on to another job.
As much as a brand-new home construction, remodel or renovation is exciting for any homeowner, it can also be a major headache, expensive and stressful if you fail to hire a reliable general contractor.
Hire the right general contractor to ensure that your project is completed on time and on budget. Let Lolark Contractors be a part of your journey to achieving your dream home. Contact us at https://lolarkcontractors.com. Call us on (425) 437-2033 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.