Often time the hardest part of home renovations is finding someone you can trust to give a fair bid and do excellent work. You are letting a perfect stranger into your home and need to trust them.
It is a shame that horror stories are so rampant in the construction industry. Stories of contractors that do not communicate, run up costs, do not arrive on time if they complete the job at all, even though they took the money. That is a stigma we at Stone Draft Houses are fighting to prove wrong.
6 Tips to Help Choose a Contractor That You Can Trust
- Know what you want. Start with more than an idea or dream but start with a plan and know what you want. This way, you will get a more accurate estimate from the contractors.
- Ask for references. When researching who you want to bid on your project, make sure you look for recommendations and feedback from others who have used the contractors. One way to start is by asking friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors about who they have used and what issues they had or didn’t have. Another place to look is online sights as Houzz, Facebook, and Google reviews. All of these will help you get a better feel for a contractor. When you are ready to move to the next step of interviewing multiple contractors, ask for references, call these references, and, if possible, see the quality of the finished projects.
- Interview multiple contractors. Ask a lot of questions during this process. Does the contractor have experience doing what you want? Is he licensed and insured? How often will the general contractor visit your project during the remodel or build? If the contractor is not going to visit often, who will be running the project, and how often will they visit the project? How does the contractor control the quality of the work performed? How long will the project take? Will there be a calendar established before the project begins, showing start date, dates showing the various phases, and finish time? Will the project be clean during the remodel or build? Will floor, cabinet, and countertop protection be provided during the remodeling or build? What dust confinements will be in place during the remodel? Who will be doing the work you are having done? Will it be employees or sub-contractors? If employees, does the contractor have a liability certificate and workman’s comp certificate? If sub-contractors are licensed and insured? What type of permits will be needed, and is the contractor going to pull a permit? These are fundamental questions to ask. Be sure to generate your list of items that include these and others you come up with to ask during your interview. Ask for written bids that you can adequately compare to see which contractor will be the best fit for you and your home.
- Compare estimates. If you are going to get multiple bids from various contractors, make sure that each contractor is looking at the same plan, scope, and if possible materials, so that you can adequately compare the bids. If one contractor brings up items that you were not aware of and is going to include those in his estimate, make sure to contact the other contractors to add or adjust their assessments with those changes. Don’t merely compare the bottom line of the projected cost. Does each contractor include the materials, appliances, fixtures, and established budgets (allowances)? If any of the contractors are not covering such materials, this estimate will be deceivingly lower than a contractor’s estimate that does include everything. Make sure all contractors are bidding everything the same so that you can adequately compare, evaluate the full potential cost of the project, and determine which contractor will be the best fit for you and your home.
- Check for licenses. General Contractors and most subcontractors should be licensed, and though this varies by state, here in Colorado, we need to obtain licensing at the municipal level. In contrast, subcontractors, like electricians and plumbers, are required to have state-level licenses. Stone Draft Homes holds a nationwide ICC tested Class B General Contractor’s license. We also have several municipal permits for Denver and the surrounding municipalities. Make sure your contractor is using licensed sub-contractors for these work items. Stone Draft Homes only uses licensed sub-contractors that perform the highest level of quality to the Stone Draft Homes standard!
- Check for Insurances. Know what is covered by your homeowner’s insurance and what is covered by the contractor’s business insurance. Ask for and make sure you get a copy of the company’s insurance policy as proof. Have the contractor’s insurance company send you a copy of their insurance certificates DIRECTLY to you and listing you as an Additional Insured. Do not accept a copy of a license from the contractor, as these sometimes are fabricated, but request one directly from the contractor’s insurance company.
US News wrote an article that covers 18 tips for hiring a contractor. You can sum up all of these suggestions with ‘do your homework before you hire a contractor.’ It is work that will pay off in the end, and you will not regret it. If we can help answer any of these questions or bid on some work, please contact us.