Hiring the right building contractor is a very important step to getting the house of your dreams. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to renovate your current home, adding an extra room for much needed space, or building a new house from the ground up, finding the right person or building company is one of the keys to avoiding costly mistakes in your home improvement project.
That a contractor looks good on paper, or has great reviews online is not proof that he or she does quality work, you will need to do your own research, if you want a finished work that you can be proud of.
If you are considering carrying out home improvement on your current property, the ideas in this article will help you make the right choice, when it comes to hiring a building contractor.
The Basics of Hiring a Building Contractor
Just like almost everything else, building contractors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you will need one of the following:
Depending on how big or complex a project is, you might hire a:
- General contractor: someone with the skills, qualifications, and experience to manage every aspect of a building project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, arranging for all the necessary building permits, and making sure your project is completed in time.
- Specialty contractor: someone who is only qualified to handle special parts of the building construction process, such as a cabinet maker, carpenter, or plumber.
- Architect: someone who will help the contractors understand your construction ideas by creating designs that will be used during the construction process, especially where structural changes are needed.
Hiring a Contractor
Once you have decided that a home improvement project is in order, you don’t just pick out any name from a list of names on the internet or the yellow pages. You have to make sure you are choosing a contractor that is right for you and the work you need done.
If you already have a list of names, you should find a way to run some form of comparison, so that you end up with the best service. It is a good idea to shortlist likely candidates from your pool, so that you are left with between three to five names to choose from.
Communicate with the names on your shortlist, explaining your project requirements and asking for an estimate. In some cases, the contractor will send someone to your location to get measurements and other necessary details. Remember though that going with the cheapest contractor may not be the best idea. You should balance price with qualifications, experience, and specialty.
At this stage, you want to know more about the people that will be working in your house, and asking the right questions will help you glean information that would help make your choice easier. For example, you want to ask potential contractors about their work history, trainings, and insurance cover. You should also request testimonials or permission to speak to some of their past clients, so that you can get a better perspective of the company.
Once you are satisfied with the information, and have settled on a contractor for your building work, you can proceed to the hiring stage, making sure that you understand the content of any contract you are agreeing to.
A contractor will require funds for materials, payments for workers and subcontractors, and so on, but when making such payments, be sure to limit your down payment or deposit. At the same time, try to limit how much you dole out during the stages of the project, so that should the contractor delay the progress of your work, the payments will be delayed also.
Now That You Have a Contractor
As work on your house progresses, you may need to constantly communicate with the contractor to make sure that things are getting done according to your specifications.
Make sure you keep all the paperwork relating to the project in a safe place. This includes the contract, invoices and receipts of payments made, correspondence between yourself and the contractor, and any other document that can serve as reference to the project in future.
It is also a good idea to take pictures of the different stages of the job, starting from before work commenced, through its progress, until the work is completed.
Finally, before making a final payment to the contractor, be sure to check that everything is done as you required and meets the accepted standards of your area. If need be, you can hire an external inspector who will check and certify that your new house is safe and up to the required standard.
By James Cummings
who is Founder and CEO of dailyposts(.co.uk). He is a business psychologist and serial entrepreneur.