You’ve made up your mind that now is the time that you’re undertaking that home improvement project that you’ve been putting off. Before you contact a professional, here’s what you should know:
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: It’s ludicrous to think of walking into a used car dealership and telling the salesperson “I want a car” but not being able to give specifics when they ask for further details on color, engine size, seating capacity, mileage, safety rating, price, etc. The same goes when meeting with a contractor to discuss commencing a major home improvement project. While they are there to act as a guide, the color combinations, materials and price points are numerous. Save time and frustration for each of you by taking the time to look through photos of completed projects that are similar to yours. A great online tool for this is www.houzz.com where you can view photos by contractors and save them into an “idea book”. At the time of your consultation, these images can be shared with the professional you’re working with to get a better feel of what exactly you’re looking for.
Drafting the Right Quarterback: Think of your general contractor as the quarterback of a team. Their job is to gather bids, work with any subcontractors and make sure that the work is done correctly, within your budget and on schedule. A general contractor has connections within the industry and has solid relationships with subcontractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.). These subcontractors want to perform exceptional work for general contractors because they know that this is how they will stay in business. It’s important to screen potential contractors to ensure that they are a good fit for you and the project you wish to undertake. This brings us to our next point…
Ask the Right Questions: If you were starting your own business and were hiring employees, wouldn’t you want to do a thorough background check on them and understand their experience in the work you’re asking them to perform? The same goes for a contractor; failure to ask the right questions can have serious consequences including the work not being performed correctly, on time or within in the budget you’ve established.
Expect Speed Bumps: Think back to your wedding planning- did everything go 100% exactly as you planned or did a few curve balls sneak their way in? The same goes for home improvement projects. With so many “moving parts” it’s likely that a few “surprises” will work their way into the project. This is where hiring the right contractor for the job is imperative. While a contractor may not be able to control curve balls, such as the light fixtures you had your heart set on being on back ordered from the manufacturer, they can work with you to resolve the issue. A reputable contractor is accustomed to thinking on their feet.