Do have something you’d like to improve in your home? It seems like many people always have some kind of running list of things they would like to get done at home. Some of them can really make a home feel much more livable, and even improve marketability to potential buyers.
When doing renovations, one can always take the DIY route, or pay someone to get the work done for you. Personally, I lean toward hiring a professional over DIY for some things that require more specialized knowledge or time. Why spend inordinate amounts of time and money unless you can do it right?
Anyway, if you do go the professional route for major home improvement projects, it’s good to be careful. For example, I know that a close family member picked out one person for a particular project, and it turned into a disaster where the guy wouldn’t show up and left work half-finished. To avoid situations such as that, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence when hiring someone to work on home improvement projects.
Here are tips for finding the right home improvement contractor:
- Have a clear vision of the project. Before talking to any potential candidates for the work, have a very good idea of exactly what you want done. This will save time and avoid any misunderstandings later. Plus, you don’t want to risk having the scope your project expanded later, and pay for things you never originally intended to get done.
- Ask family and friends for referrals. Sometimes, for many of us, it’s a big unknown as to whether or not the person we’re considering for work will be good or not. One could try Angie’s List (I haven’t, but would be interested to do so sometime), but family and friends are right there to answer questions – provided they live close enough to have used someone you could potentially hire.
- Get At Least Three Bids. This is important. Going with the first person you speak with might seem easy and expedient, but you often need to get different quotes. Personally, in my work experience when hiring vendors to do projects, I’ve generally sought out at least 3 vendors for bids. Granted, these were not home improvement, but marketing/finance related projects, but the concept holds. Make the project expectations clear with each, so you can compare each contractor on an apples to apples basis.
- Ask for References, and Call Them. Someone may talk a good game, provide a good quote, but have limited experience. Again, call them to verify the quality of work and capabilities of the contractor you are considering hiring.
- Be Careful With Payment Agreements. Make sure that you arrange for payments to be made in such a way that doesn’t give the contractor too much up front. Once money is in hand, there’s less incentive to hustle and get the job done as well. Arrange for payment to be made in installments as milestones are completed. This could have helped the family member to whom I referred earlier.
My Questions for You:
What do you think of this list? Is there anything you’d like to add to it?
What have your home improvement or contractor experiences been like?