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Hiring a building contractor can seem intimidating and overwhelming. You need a professional who you can trust to do demolition and construction on one of your most valuable possessions: your home. Construction can be a lengthy and stressful process and it's critical to find a contractor that you trust as an expert and that you like as a person. You can head off a lot of problems by thinking ahead and following a few vital tips.
Finding a good contractor is like finding a good date. You need to find someone who is a match. Find someone who has done projects similar to yours and worked in a similar landscape. If you live on a hillside, for example, you may want someone who has experience in hillside construction. You can find a reliable contractor if you do some research and ask friends and neighbors for referrals. You can do further investigation through professional organizations that rate businesses for good practices. Interview several contractors until you find a handful that have the expertise you need and a bedside manner you can work with for several months.
Do Your Homework
Ask at least three contractors to bid on your project. By having several bids to compare, you will have a sense of what price is fair for the scope of your construction. Once you have chosen a contractor, call his references to get an idea of the contractor's strengths and weaknesses. Visit his other job sites to see how he handles his projects. Check to make sure the contracting license is current. Make sure the contractor has worker's comp insurance to cover any injuries that may occur during your job. It is also desirable that a contractor is bonded as this can cover the cost of any damage or bad results that occur during construction.
Don't be afraid to tell your contractor what you want to spend. Give him a budget and be serious about sticking to it. If you ask for an estimate, don't be intimidated by the first number a contractor shows you. If you obtain several bids, you can probably negotiate on the cost of construction. Make sure your contract includes things such as the amount of the downpayment, when other payments are due, an itemized outline of costs and an overview of specific materials. Put start and completion dates in writing. Tough negotiators will include financial penalties if the job isn't finished in time. Make sure all parties sign the contract. If you have a contractor who doesn't want to negotiate, explain details or sign a contract, you may need a new contractor.
The more specific you are about how much you can spend and what materials you want to use, the more likely you are to be happy with your project when it is complete. Participate as thoroughly as you can when materials are chosen and if you have certain concerns or desires, put them in writing so there is a record of what you want. Talk to your contractor daily if you are offsite. Make sure he informs you if he had to make any changes to the construction plan you originally agreed upon.