10 Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor
Everyone has heard the expression, “You get what you pay for.” This saying is never more relevant than when you're planning a home improvement or remodeling project that involves hiring a contractor. Going by price alone increases the risk of project failure and can lead to higher costs down the road.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to make your home improvement project a fun and stress-free experience:
1. Connect with your contractor
The right person for the job will be easy to talk to. Make sure you see eye to eye by hiring a contractor that understands your goals and has experience in the type of job you are looking for. Communication is key for all projects, so insist on regular contact by email, phone or text messages.
2. Understand that price reflects quality
Ask your contractor for his or her recommendations on how the project should take place. In the long run, is it worth cutting corners for a temporary fix? The lowest bid is not always the best. Request a written description of the materials necessary for the job. A low bid may indicate that a contractor uses sub-par materials or is desperate for work. The more accurate bid is likely somewhere in the middle.
3. Know a contractor's credentials
Abbreviations behind your contractor’s name can represent certifications from national trade organizations. These indicate that the company belongs to certain organizations that bind them to a strict code of ethics. Such memberships, titles and abbreviations include certified graduate remodeler (CGR), certified aging in place specialist (CAPS), local Building Industry Association membership (BIA) and National Association of Home Builders membership (NAHB). Also, insist on hiring a licensed, bonded and insured contractor. This is a must. Otherwise, as the property owner you are liable if a member of the work crew gets injured on the job.
4. Get your home improvement contract in writing
Your contract should include: detailed time frames, the total cost, payment arrangements, your contractor’s license number, project description, names of parties involved and how to handle additional costs if necessary. Be cautious; if you are not given a timeline for the job to be completed, this may indicate the contractor has several current jobs and may not complete your job in a timely manner. Keep track of all-important information as well by keeping job-related documents such as contracts, payments and receipts in one place. Record key contact information for everyone working on your project.
5. Be upfront about your home improvement budget
If necessary, break the project down into multiple phases. Although this may increase the total cost due to repetitious start-up expenses and inflation, it may also be a better option for you to spread out the cost over time. Homeowners can often save money by doing some tasks on their own, such as cleaning and painting.
6. Educate yourself about home improvement requirements
Know what permits are required and what regulations need to be followed for your remodeling project. Your contractor or architect should be responsible for applying for and acquiring all necessary permits. Don't be passive, however; ask for information. Know what’s going on behind the scenes. The cost of the job will increase if the contractor is surprised by outdated wiring or other concealed budget busters.
7. Be prepared for home renovation
• Select your colors and finishes before the painter arrives to save time.
• Don't forget to make space for the crew. Allow them to keep their supplies and equipment on site. The more organized and accessible these items are, the faster they will be able to do their work.
• Try to avoid any potential loss. Remove any valuables or easily damaged items from the work site.
8. Be courteous of your neighbors during your renovation
Inform the work crew where your property lines are located to prevent materials from being placed in the wrong area.
9. Keep your eye on the renovation prize
Although the project will be disruptive, don't forget that the end result will be worth it.
10. Ensure things are complete before signing off on the project
Schedule a final walk through. Meet with your contractor and make note of any tasks that need to be completed.
Fortunately, Spectrum Painting's standards and processes hit on on all these key points! After 29 years in business, we are able to provide a top notch experience before, during and even after your project is over! Give us a call today at 973-706-6033 to schedule an appointment with an estimator to get your upcoming project up and off the ground!