Before You Hire a Contractor

Trust us, a good decorative contractor is hard to find. This might just be one of the hardest parts of a home renovation or makeover. Most likely, getting the best one for your residential property–a true professional who shows up and does exceptional work on time and within the budget limits–depends on a serious screening and studying before the job actually starts. This might be one are that’s often overlooked by homeowners. A lot of times, the first person they would subject to an interview would be the one they hire almost right away. It will take you even longer to look for the right contractor and check out the job than to do the job. Now, to make things a little bit easier, we’ve come up with some tips to help you look for the right decorative concrete contractor.

Take It Easy

You’re not on a run to order a cup of coffee to go. This is a home improvement that you’re going to live with every day soon. The best thing for you to do before starting an interview with contractors is to familiarize yourself with the project and its processes. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to ask real questions and make smart decisions based on the project requirements. How far do you think you need to go? What materials are needed for you to complete the project? You can also make a list of the things that you prefer and the requirements that you need before you start. One wise move is to call your local permit office to find out what papers you need.

Talk to Friends and Neighbors

Referrals are one good way to find a good contractor. You’d want to make sure that whoever you’re going to hire, make sure you have a personal referral. You could follow up on it however you like. Good referrals aren’t enough as it is. Just because your friend liked the contractor, doesn’t mean the job was done right. But this is a good starting point. Another good sign is when two people recommend the same contractor. Don’t forget that when you find someone great, tell everyone.

Find Out the Contractor’s Specialization

Sometimes people assume all contractors are equally qualified to work on different types of homes. Interview contractors who do the type of work that you need. For example, if you want a renovation, you want a renovator, rather than a home builder. Look for someone who focuses on homes that are the same age and style as yours. While a contractor may have more than one specialty, you want to make sure that your type of home is one of the contractor’s strong suits.

Make a good match

When it comes to interviewing a professional contractor, it’s similar to dating. You want to get to know them, ask about experiences, life history, strengths and what they really love to do. You also need to uncover deep information like their license, insurance, etc. They’re quick to leave your house once they figure out that you’re probing for a pro. At certain points during the job, the work has to be inspected and you would want to be there for each of these steps. Mention this before you hire. If the contractor would decline, then they’re probably not the best. Interview contractors until you find the right one—even if it takes a while. You have to keep going until you’re surely at peace and happy.

Get and Check Plenty of References

Throw the old rule of three out the window. Your prospective contractor should have at least more references. Call all of them. Ask about the details that would really matter: did they start and end right on schedule? Did they clean up the mess? Did they follow up to see if the job was okay? Did the price escalate from the estimate even if the job didn’t? Most homeowners who have a good job done on their property are most likely to show off. As you contact former clients, follow up with someone most homeowners don’t think of: local suppliers. No one knows a contractor like their suppliers.

Don’t Part with too Much Money In One Heaving

If the contractor is any good, most likely they won’t be able to start for a few weeks. So don’t part with a huge amount of your renovation money upfront. Incremental payments ensure against disappearing contractor syndrome. Withholding the last payment guarantees that if there are any problems after the job is done, they’ll be fixed promptly. This type of payment schedule is business-as-usual for professional contractors.

Don’t Forget to Go Green

Want to go green? Tell your contractor during your first meeting. You have to do it first. But what it comes down to is the friendlier for the earth, the friendlier for you and your family. This is where doing some research ahead of time can pay off. What are the green or greener options for the job you’re planning?

2 thoughts on “Before You Hire a Contractor

  1. I like your idea on getting and checking references before you hire a concrete contractor. I would imagine that finding out what past clients have to say would be really helpful when choosing who to hire. I am looking for someone to pave my driveway so I’ll have to be sure to hire someone only after checking their references.

  2. These are some great tips for hiring a concrete contractor. I definitely agree that it’s best not to rush this, and do some research on the processes. We are hoping to put in a concrete patio, so I will look up how it’s done.

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