Know your contractor… before your project gets started

The process of finding the right contractor to work with is the single most important thing you can do when planning for your remodeling project. This can apply for simple things such as replacing a kitchen faucet or a renovation your entire main floor. Most people spend the majority of their time looking at granite countertops or the latest technology with appliances, while very little time is dedicated towards researching their contractor. While having fabulous products are great for the end result, they won’t make or break your remodeling experience. Here are some things to look for when looking for a contractor to manage your project.

References

This is probably the easiest and most important task to accomplish. Qualifying a contractor can usually be accomplished by asking for a list of past clients that would be willing to speak with you about their experience. It is important to speak with the customers that have had similar work done that you are about to complete. If you’re building a deck, it’s important to see other decks the contractor has completed. Likewise, if you’re doing a kitchen remodel it is important to see other kitchen remodels the contractor has finished.

You may also check with local vendors for reliability and quality questions. The vendors are usually involved with contractors on a regular basis and can provide an educated reference for many contractors in the area.

Finally, be sure to check organizations such as Angie’s List, BAGI (Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis), or NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) to get further information before committing to a particular contractor.

Licenses/Qualifications

In residential projects, the State of Indiana only requires a plumber to have a license to do work on your home. Some counties have adopted their own bylaws so be sure your contractor is licensed to do the work in your area if necessary. This inquiry is usually made at the planning department in your city or town.

While a contractor may not have to be licensed, there are many qualification or certification designations they may have. These don’t guarantee your project will go perfectly, but they do help to know that your contractor has completed education and tests to gain their certification.

It is also important to find out if it is necessary to pull a building permit for your renovation. A building permit will bring about inspections which will be more difficult for the contractor but better for you. The building permit and inspections will give you some assurance that your contractor is doing the work in accordance with local codes.

Communication

Communication is essential between the homeowner and contractor in allowing your project to be successful and completed on time. It’s important to ask a prospective contractor how he likes to communicate. Is it by cell phone? Email? Does he have an office with a secretary or will you be communicating directly with him all of the time. Is he easily accessible and does he return your phone calls in a reasonable time period? Most of these questions can be answered by speaking with past customers.

These factors are simple things to consider when choosing your contractor. Make sure to feel comfortable with your contractor and the person you will be meeting with throughout the course of your project. If you are unsure about hiring them, we would strongly suggest you consider looking for someone else. If you don’t have a good feeling going into the project, you probably won’t have a good feeling when the project is completed.

Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions for help we may be able to give you when researching your contractor or vendor you are planning to use for your project.

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