Spring tends to awaken the home improvement bug in many homeowners. There’s something about Mother Nature’s own home renovation projects – the budding trees, the awakening grass, the first few flowers – that makes people want to follow suit. While many homeowners want to dig in and get their own hands dirty, there are just as many who don’t have the time, skills or inclination to DIY their home renovation / improvement projects. If you’re in the latter category, these tips can help you find a solid, trustworthy contractor to carry out your home renovation / improvement projects in a professional, timely and affordable way.
Define the Scope of Your Project
Before you start hunting for a contractor, it’s important that you know what you want done. Defining the scope of your project will make it easier for contractors to give you an accurate estimate of the cost of your project – and it will help you avoid mission creep, the tendency for skilled workers to add in more work as the project gets underway.
Assemble a List of Prospects
There are many ways to find skilled trade and service professionals. You can check your local telephone listings, ask around to other homeowners who have had similar work done and get recommendations from local associations. In addition, there are a few online services you can use to find skilled professionals in your area. They include contractor directories and contractor bidding services.
Research Your Prospects
If your project is one that requires a licensed professional, check to make sure each contractor you’re considering has the required certifications. Check your local Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints lodged against the company or contractor. Read any reviews of the business or professional that you can find online. This can be especially easy if you’re finding a contractor through a service bidding site or contractor directory online.
Request a Bid On Your Job from Each Contractor
Don’t just hire someone who looks good on paper. Request a bid from each local contractor you’re considering. Many contractors – especially for larger home renovation jobs – will come out to assess the scope of the work and prepare a detailed bid at no cost to you. For smaller jobs, particularly electrical or plumbing repair jobs, some professional contractors will charge a small fee for coming out to evaluate the job and provide you with an estimate. In most cases, the contractor will deduct the fee from the final cost of your job if you choose them to do the work.
Consider All Factors in Making Your Final Choice
Don’t base your final decision solely on the estimate. Especially if you’re doing a large home renovation / improvement job, such as putting an addition on your house, you’ll be dealing with the contractor and his crew for a fairly lengthy period of time. Be sure that you’re comfortable with the workers and feel you can trust them to do the job properly.