Things to consider when hiring a contractor
If you’re planning to renovate your home or business, choosing a skillful contractor that’s the right fit for you and the work is a critical step. A decent contractor doesn’t just guarantee quality results, they should also aim to save you any additional costs and time.
A good advert is not proof enough that a contractor is one of quality; you should look at other factors when considering who to hire.
Finding a contractor
Before awarding someone the job, it’s important to have a clear idea about the scope of work. Think about your objectives and goals and try to visualise the end result as much as you can; even include imagery of similar jobs in the neighbourhood or online as a guide.
Depending on the type and size of the project, you may need to hire:
A general contractor
A designer or design-build contractor
A specialty contractor
Gather as much information about the contractor as you can, prior to hiring, to ensure that they can carry out the work effectively and reliably. You could create a checklist containing different questions and considerations. These could include:
Shortlisting and interviewing contractors
Examining their portfolios and CVs
Checking with co-workers and friends about their credibility
Requesting references from previous clients
Determining how long they’ve been in business
Checking their qualifications
Checking the contractors’ rating on online review sites
The more research you do at the outset, the less likely you will encounter problems during and/or after the job.
Checking their past work
Pictures of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ are common on contractors’ websites; however, it’s wise to also look into their customer service, on-field experience and professional reputation. If you consider contractors with at least 3-5 years’ experience you should be able to find enough examples of these elements to qualify any concerns you may have.
It’s practical to look at hiring local contractors. They’re likely to be accessible and more likely to be familiar with the problems that can occur within your community.
Licencing and insurance are important factors that can underpin a contractor’s expertise and credibility. An insured contractor can protect you from any liability and provide cover for any injury or property damage whilst working on your project. Ensure their insurance cover is sufficient for your project before you hire them.
A licensed contractor can assure professional workmanship on your site.
Regardless of the size of the project, it should be subject to its own contract. This is a critical factor as it ensures that, should a dispute arise, it’s dealt with in a professional manner.
In the contract, outline every detail and step of the project. Include accurate description of the work, the project deadline, payment schedule, any specific materials and products to be used, and anything else that’s relevant, to ensure the whole process is carried out to perfection in a timely manner. Ensure the contract is signed by both parties before work begins.
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