Hiring a professional for those jobs that are definitely not DIY takes time, research and patience. It is one thing to do your own drywall, cabinets and painting, but jobs like septic, plumbing and major electrical, all need professionals.
Six steps for hiring a contractor
- Ask around for referrals, especially at the hardware store. They know who is the busiest, and the busiest contractors are the ones in high demand because they are good at what they do.
- Look up the companies you were referred to. Check out their web pages, licenses and then call the ones that do the kind of work you need done. Don’t expect to get through right away. Have patience and they will get back to you as soon as they have a moment to do so.
- Ask for references when you talk to each contractor as well as whether they regularly do the kind of work you want done.
- Check the references. Call the people they have done work for and see what they thought about the price, the time taken and the work done.
- Get estimates from multiple contractors and compare them. You don’t want to take the lowest bid though, because that could be an indication they are not very experienced.
- Get a contract for all large projects. Always.
If you get a range of bids from high to low, it is probably best to take one of the ones in the middle. That will be about the average price, really high bids can be an indication of skill, or an over inflated ego. Plus, you aren’t trying to spend every last dollar you have on the renovation either.
General contractors do all kinds of work and handle everything about the job, from hiring, permits and inspections, should you require them. However, certain jobs like foundation repair are typically done by specialty contractors.
Be wary of contractors who come door to door, only accepts cash or are not listed in your local directory. Many times scam artists will pretend to be the real deal and are only out to rip you off. This happens a lot after natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. If you have just been through some type of natural disaster beware of these people.
Do not pay for the work all in advance and never use cash. You can make payments as the work is being done and anything that goes over the estimate has to be approved by you first. There are laws that help to protect you for just this reason. Make sure that the job is finished in compliance with your contract and you have written warranties for it. You also want to make sure that any subcontractors have been fully paid as well.