Home is your own personal space where you can breathe freely. It often becomes older and smaller as your needs or family grows, necessitating renovations or additions. Cavalier Homes Inc, one of the oldest general contractors in West Islip, Long Island, NY, explains how homeowners should assess potential contractors before hiring them to work on their homes. Here are his top eight professional tips for finding a contractor from start to finish.
- Get Referrals
Start by asking your friends and family for recommendations, and then request a list of local members from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. You can also visit your local lumberyard, which sees contractors frequently and knows which ones buy high-quality materials and pay their bills on time, or speak with a building inspector, who will know which home renovation contractors regularly adhere to code requirements.
- Conduct Telephone Interviews
Once you’ve compiled a list, Cavalier Homes recommends making a quick call to each of your prospects and going over the following questions to ask a contractor:
- Do they accept projects your size?
- Is it possible for them to provide financial references from suppliers or banks?
- Can they show you the list of past customers?
- How many other projects are they working on simultaneously?
- How long have they been associated with their subcontractors?
The answers to these questions will give you an idea of the company’s availability, dependability, and ability to give your project their full attention, and how well the work will go.
- In-Person Meeting
Select three or four contractors for a meeting for estimates and additional discussion based on the results of the phone interviews. You should feel comfortable asking questions of a contractor, and they should be able to respond to you satisfactorily. You must be able to communicate effectively because this person will be in your house for extended periods of time. However, don’t be deceived by personality. Before you hire a contractor, check to see if they have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors by contacting your state’s consumer protection agency and your neighborhood BBB.
- Look into the Facts
Make use of your research after you’ve trimmed down your list. Inquire about the progress of a previous client’s project by calling and requesting to see the completed work. However, you shouldn’t just rely on the outcomes. Visit a current job site and observe the contractor in action; this is even more crucial. Is the worksite orderly and secure? Do employees treat the homeowner’s property with respect and care?
- Plan and Procure Quotes
You’ve narrowed down your list of potential contractors to those with a solid track record and a responsible work ethic. It’s time to stop thinking about your previous work and start anticipating your upcoming project. A diligent contractor will require not only a full set of blueprints but also knowledge of the goals and budget of the homeowners. Ask everyone to detail the cost of materials, labor, profit margins, and additional expenses so that you can compare bids. The majority of the cost is typically made up of overhead and a 15–20% profit margin, with materials typically making up 40% of the total cost.
- Setting Up a Payment Schedule
Establishing a payment schedule in advance is another crucial piece of advice for hiring contractors. Payment plans reveal a contractor’s financial situation and work ethic. If they ask for half the bid up front, they might be experiencing financial difficulties or be concerned that you won’t pay the balance once you’ve seen the work. When it comes to large projects, a typical payment schedule is 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent spaced out over the course of the project, and a check for the final 15 percent when you believe all of the items on the punch list have been finished.
- Don’t Let Price Be Your Determining Factor
Cavalier Homes advises rejecting the lowball offer. In a strong economy, the statement “This contractor is likely cutting corners or, worse, desperate for work” is hardly encouraging. Comfort should be considered equally important to or more important than technical proficiency in your decision. How well you and he communicate is the single most crucial aspect to consider when choosing a contractor. When hiring a contractor, it is always preferable to spend more money and hire someone you feel comfortable with.
- Document it
Create a contract that outlines every phase of the project, including the payment schedule, start date, and anticipated completion date, the materials and products to be used, and a requirement that the contractor obtains lien releases (which protect you in the event that he doesn’t pay his bills) from all suppliers and subcontractors. It is not about mistrust to insist on a transparent contract. The goal is to make the renovation successful.
The price always goes up and the project always takes longer as soon as a change is made or a problem is discovered. A successful home renovation process depends on having a thorough walk-through of the plan and budget. When it comes to budgeting and planning, Cavalier Homes Inc. at West Islip, Long Island doesn’t cut any corners. Working with us gives you peace of mind and guarantees you get the most for your money after the project is finished.