How to choose the right contractor

by Steven Do | Oct 13, 2015

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cherezoff | shutterstock.com

Hiring a contractor is the most important element of a renovation. Without a sold, trustworthy, reputable contractor, your project can get into a whirlwind of problems and delays. What are the things you can do to evaluate the right contractor for you? There are many aspects to consider, but in this article we’ll just focus on one crucial criterion and that is the skill-set of the contractor.

What do we mean by skill-set?

There are nuances in this area that will help you hire the best contractor for your job, more specifically, is a contractor’s area of specialization. Let’s use bathroom remodel as an example. Bathroom remodel requires some plumbing work and minor electrical work. But the major part is the finish work. Which are laying the tiles for the walls and floor, painting, installing and cabinets.

yunava1 | shutterstock.com

yunava1 | shutterstock.com

Finish work requires and eye for details. It also requires an understanding of how to layout the tiles to make it look nice; placement of faucets and lighting. Some design skills are also involved. So if you are looking to do a bathroom remodel, you need to look for a “finish contractor“. A contractor that specialize in bathroom work and have the skill-set mentioned above.

The next level of evaluation

Even within the group of contractors that does bathrooms, some will be more suitable for your project than others. Let’s say you have a big custom bathroom with custom shower pan, Jacuzzi drop in tub, expensive shower valves with multi-control. In this case you’ll need to hire a contractor that has the skill-set to handle this type of custom work.

david papazian | shutterstock.com

david papazian | shutterstock.com

He must know how to build a custom shower pan and make it water proof. He must know how to build that base for your drop-in tub. He’s able to install that complicate shower valve. The same thing can be said about many other professions. Not all computer engineers are the same. They specialize in different computer languages and technology stack.

How to know if the contractor has the required skill-set?

Below are a list of items to check off as you go through the evaluation process of choosing the right contractor for your renovation project.

  1. Understand your project: First you need to learn about your own project and consider what is involve. You might need a contractor that knows a little bit about everything or one that specialize in just one thing.

  2. Do some homework: How did you know about the contractor? If it’s referral, then ask the person who referred you to see their work.

  3. Ask questions: Ask questions about different area of the project to see if what they say make some basic sense. Ask if they are good at ________. Fill in the blank with different part of the project that you are concern about. Or you think it’s important.

  4. Communicate clearly: Discuss about your expectations. Sometime a contractor will see that he’s way over his head and will withdraw from the project.

  5. Get multiple quotes from different contractors to make sure cost is within market range. Some contractors will under bid a project to secure the job, but will end up costing you more money during the project. Other contractors will over charge you causing you to waste your budget.

There other abundant resources online to help make this evaluation, for example ThisOldHouse.com does a good job offer tips to hire a contractor. If you don’t have time for an evaluation and want to choose a contractor that is reputable, trustworthy and fair in pricing, then contact me directly or got to my website, FourSC.com. I do all types of general and custom home renovations.

I hope this article provides you with some insight for your next hiring process. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to subscribe to RealEstateWhisper Newsletter below to get the latest news.


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