Finding a Good Contractor
September 1, 2019
Why is finding a good contractors so difficult?
Is there a strategy to finding a good contractor that you can actually use long term?
I will answer both questions below and give my advise which comes from 13 years of remodeling experience in the Dallas area.
Throughout my remodeling experience their are 3 key things I have found to be very important to finding a good contractor.
- A detailed remodel plan
- In-Depth interview process
- Reference check
Even with these 3 key elements you need to be intimately involved in the remodel process. You need to check the progress of work periodically. You can have the best contractor in town but if they are not 100% clear on what you want you will still have issues with your project.
First thing you need to do is develop your remodel plan in great detail. The more details you have figured out the smoother your project will go. This includes a remodel drawing, materials picked out and purchased and pictures of your style or another project you are mirroring if applicable. Your contractor is generally not going to be a designer so you NEED TO PAINT THE PICTURE FOR THEM. If this step is missed you will have a miserable experience and I can not stress this enough. You need to plan, plan, plan before you start construction and if you will spend the time on this step your project has a CHANCE to be successful.
Do you know a real estate investor or remodeling expert, if you do ask them first. If you don’t know an industry expert ask friends and family that know the most about construction or handy man work. If none of these referral sources develop any candidates for you go to the internet. You can look at a couple sites like HomeAdvisor or The Good Contractors List to get started. Once you have 4-5 contractors I would setup a face to face meeting with them and interview them about their business, your project, referral sources and their experience. Takes some notes about each contractor and their ideas or comments to refer to later.
First if a contractor will not give you referrals for you to contact do not use them. Contact the customers on the referral lists with projects similar to yours. If you can visit the project this is ideal but you may only get a chance to talk to them. Do not make a decision on a contractor until you have checked all the references. You should be able to get a feel for how the contractor performed and begin to get a feeling good or bad for the finalists.
Obviously cost will be a consideration but after the interviews and reference checks meet with the finalists again. Go over your project again in great detail to make sure they understand the plan. If the finalists check out make your decision then go with your gut instinct.
So you now you understand how finding a good contractor works. Once you pick a contractor, you still need to manage them during the process. Meet with them daily about what work is going to be happening that day and review the previous day’s work. This is also where you can go over questions they may have. Get issues fixed immediately before the project progresses much. With the planning and conversations you will have, there are still opportunities for mistakes because you are dealing with people. Be diligent about the process and your project will go smoothly.
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