Carefully choosing the right home building contractor is important to the success of your project, while an unqualified contractor can turn your plans into a nightmare. Here are some tips for selecting the right contractor for the job:
A candidate should have a valid building contractor license, and up-to-date liability insurance. Ask to see certificates; check with your local licensing authority for past problems or violations pertaining to any potential candidate.
Ask for references of recently completed projects; check each out.
Make sure the contractor will acquire necessary permits and arrange for any required inspections and certificates.
Give identical copies of detailed project plans to each potential candidate to get a quote for the project. You should get at least three different quotes before making your selection. Be sure the quote includes materials and fixtures that meet project specifications. Avoid contacts that allow of like kind substitutions.
After you have selected a building contractor, make sure that all detailed information is included in the contract, such as complete names, addresses, and phone numbers of both parties, as well as the physical address of the project. Be sure that project start and finish dates are included, and that a payment plan is described in detail. It is normal for a contractor to ask for 10-33% in advance, with additional funds paid as work progresses.
How to Save on the Total Bill
If your project does not have to be completed on a priority basis, you may want to consider offering it to a contractor as a fill in job. Most contractors will take such projects at a reduced price, insuring they have other work in the event of adverse weather or materials delivery mix-ups at another project.
Many contractors will accept a project as a reference contract. This is a win-win situation for the property owner; work is completed at a reduced price, and since the contractor will use the completed job to showcase his expertise to potential clients, only his best work goes into your project.
Finding the Right Contractor
There are at least three sources for finding a qualified building contractor in your area: word-of-mouth references from people that have recently had a similar project done, local licensing authorities who provide a list of contractors with appropriate building contractor license, and Internet web sites that make referrals.
By following these simple steps, you can avoid a potential nightmare, and insure your project is a pleasant experience for all parties involved.