Most homeowners have to go through home improvement stage at some stage of their home ownership period. When you need to do it how do you find reliable, and at the same time affordable construction company to get the work done.
“When my wife and I decided we wanted to upgrade our kitchen, we researched possible scenarios and looked at different cost variations. It helps you to minimize frustrations and to save money if you prepared and invest time into doing your homework ahead of time, said Mike, homeowner in Livingston New Jersey.”
Many people have their horror stories about the contractors who had started the work and had never returned. Or took their deposit and never showed up to do the actual work. Even with a right kind of contractors, the process can be frustrating, full of nasty surprises such as finding a rotten sub-floor, or leaky pipes that could unexpectedly add to the cost of the whole project.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE ESTIMATES
Start with collecting some ideas. Do not start talking to contractors right away, rather spend time looking at different materials you want to use and what you want to have done. If you are renovating your kitchen, do you want tile on your floor, backsplash, the appliances moved around? Having these things in mind can give you more precise estimates on how much in reality it would cost you. From there you can start understanding if it is actually that important to have you sink on the other side if it will cost you additional $1,500 to redo your plumbing.
CHECK WITH YOUR FRIENDS, RELATIVES, AND CO-WORKERS FOR REFERENCES
You neighbors or people in your area might have done similar projects. Ask them for their experiences. If you know people in your local hardware store ask them. They may be able to provide referrals too.
INTERVIEW AT LEAST THREE CONTRACTORS AND ASK THEM TO SHOW YOU THEIR WORK
Good contractors are always very busy and it is normal. They should be able to show you their work, explain in details what they would do. Ask what will be done and hear them walk you through their steps, you might even learn something new for yourself, something you may have missed or never thought about. When you ask for their estimates, make sure to have them include same materials so you compare apples to apples. Do not be afraid to negotiate.
CHOOSE RIGHT CONTRACTOR FOR YOUR PROJECT AND CHECK CREDENTIALS
Someone who did you new addition does not necessarily know how to do a good tiling work. Make sure the person you choose to do your work has done it before. Some contractors should be licensed, ask them to show you their certificates. However, depending on the type of work, some may not require licensing such as tiling, painting, installing your floors, doors and more. However, some work such as electric, plumbing, framing this is not an exhaustive list, does require contractors to carry a license. If this is the type of work involved in your project, ask them to show you their licenses.
DEFINITELY, READ ONLINE REVIEWS AND DO YOUR ONLINE INVESTIGATION
Angie’s list does not allow anonymous reviews. Yelp and Google also have some reviews. You might want to read carefully their reviews but remain abstract and independent in your opinion. If something is good or negative written about the contractor you are considering, ask them about it. Depending on the situation you may want to ask to speak to that particular person, or ask them to give you contacts for some other references so you can verify.
SIGN THE CONTRACT AND HAVE THEM APPLY FOR PERMITS
Make sure contract includes what work would be done, timeline, payment progression, and materials that would be used. Keep in mind that most home improvement projects require permits. Many companies may suggest that work to be done without permits, this may expose you to unknown risks. Also, do not pay more than 10% as a deposit before any work starts. Occasionally contractors may ask for 30% deposit if there are some expensive materials to be purchased ahead of time, your contract should reflect this. Make sure also to include payment schedule and work progression and triggers for consequent payments.