Choosing a Remodeling Contractor
Whether you are planning a major overhaul of your home or building a new office space, hiring a professional to remodel your space is a wise investment. Not only does it save you the time and expense of having to do the work yourself, but also saves you in possible conflicts with potential contractors who may not have your best interest in mind. Here are several steps that will help you select a remodeling contractor with care.
The first step to hiring a remodeling contractor is to check local government offices for permits and licenses. In many states, these licensing requirements are not posted in plain view, so you will need to get a copy of them before beginning any work. Additionally, some contractors and general contractors will be licensed in one state and not in another, making it necessary for you to request a license duplicate in every state in which they will be doing business. If your state requires a contractor to obtain both a general contractor’s license and a special contractor’s license in order to legally perform remodeling work in that state, contact them immediately to ensure they are licensed to do so. If you live in a state that does not require either a license or a permit, you should still inquire as these professionals may not have required these items on their business cards or in their resumes.
Once you have verified the legitimacy of your potential renovation contractor, schedule an initial meeting to discuss your goals and the timeline for completion. The best general contractors will be open and honest with you about their estimated time frame, including weekends or days off, which projects will require more work than others, and other important details about the renovation plan. Once you have met with your contractor, be sure to take down everything you discussed on paper. Keep copies of all discussions, and include all materials lists, schedules, quotes and other documentation with your paperwork. It is not always necessary to use a construction software program to create your records, but it is helpful to have access to such programs. A simple notebook or computer spreadsheet will suffice.
After your initial interview, if you do not feel comfortable with the individual you are interviewing, you should arrange another time to meet with them. You should discuss your overall impressions with the general contractor and try to determine if there is a good fit between you and this individual. Most experienced remodeling contractors will be able to explain to you what makes them different from other similar firms, and will be able to provide you with specific examples of past work they have completed for others.
When you select your remodeling contractor, be sure to choose one with whom you can communicate easily. You and the general contractor should have a clear line of communication, which should be established well in advance of starting work. This should allow both you and the professional to adequately address any issues that arise during the project, without needing to wait for a follow up appointment. Make sure that you are happy with your initial choice. If not, make sure you can get a replacement that suits your needs better.
You should expect your remodeling contractor to offer you some sort of financial assistance when it is needed. Many general contractors will offer financing options when you reach a certain amount of predetermined expense. This is a nice benefit, especially when your remodeling project requires major renovations. However, you should expect to pay for any loans obtained, whether they are from the general contractor or another source.