Deciding to work with a contractor on your home renovation is often the most simple and straightforward way to complete your project. But everyone’s heard a nightmare renovation story. The project took double the amount of time to complete; it went way over budget; the sub-trades were not very experienced. The list goes on.
Unfortunately, these stories are all too familiar in the world of renovations. The good news is they’re entirely avoidable when you take just a few key steps to qualify your potential contractor before hiring them in the first place. So to help make your project go as smoothly as possible, here are our top four tips on how you can find the right contractor for your new build or renovation.
1. Do Your Research
Start your search with tools like Houzz and Google to find contractors in your area that you know, like, and trust who can do the job you need them to do. Online reviews are more important than ever to help you determine if the person is reputable, competent and whether or not you’d like to work with them.
In the end, you need to trust yourself (and if a company or individual doesn’t sound good, then move on to the next). At the same time, be careful not to judge a book by its cover. Of course, you’d like to see a gallery of completed work that matches the scale and complexity of your type of project, but don’t let their portfolio be the only thing that wins you over, either.
2. Narrow Down Two or Three to Interview on the Phone
Your relationship with your contractor is a crucial business partnership that involves total trust and transparency on both ends. That said, you’ll want to find someone you have good communication with and who you ultimately like and respect.
You can ask for references in the interview and check them, but you also need to go with your gut—this is a person who will be in your home for weeks (and possibly even months). You’re going to want to like them as a person first and foremost and be able to get along with their project management and communication style as well.
3. Have Realistic Expectations When It Comes to Timelines or Budgets
If a contractor estimates your project to take longer or cost more than you hoped for, know that they are just being honest with you. Ultimately, it’s better to know this information now instead of further down the road when you’re mid-renovation. You have to trust this person, and that trust goes both ways. Know your responsibilities and be on top of what your contractor needs you to do to make sure the project runs smoothly.
4. Be Patient and Don’t Rush the Process
Here’s the thing — good contractors are usually busy. They may not be able to start your project right away and will almost always have to fit you into their schedule. Subpar contractors won’t be busy and often can begin the job right away. Other times, they’ll start a project in the middle of an existing one, which of course, is a recipe for disaster when it comes to meeting your own project timelines. So watch out for those red flags, and know that having to wait is usually a good thing.
Finding the Right Contractor Starts With Knowing What to Look For
When it comes to any home renovation project, the hard work usually isn’t the renovation work itself — it’s finding the right contractor for the job. It’s essential to the success of the project and making the wrong decision will cause you all sorts of problems down the road. Sure, you may save money in the beginning by going with someone less expensive, but those savings won’t be worth it in the end if you’re working with someone who’s unreliable or who you’re just not compatible with. It all starts with knowing what to look for. So keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a smooth and successful renovation.