If you’re planning to get some building work done on your house, your first decision is whether to do it yourself or hire someone to do the job for you. Although DIY is a great way to keep costs down and learn some new skills into the bargain, more serious renovations – such as structural work or anything to do with the electrics – is usually best left to the professionals.
But once you’ve made this decision, it’s only the start of the process. Now comes the difficult task of choosing the right contractor for you, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice out there.
In this article, we’ll be sharing our top tips for hiring a licensed contractor. Whether you want to knock down walls, reconnect your mains, or build a decking in your backyard, these should you be your first steps towards finding the best contractor for you.
Ask for Recommendations
From carrying out a VA license lookup to checking a contractor in California, it’s crucial to make sure your servicers are reputable – and there’s often no better place to start than by asking your friends and family. If you know someone who has recently had similar building work or renovations done to the type you’re planning, find out which licensed contractor they used and what their experience with them was like.
If you don’t know anyone who’s hired a contractor, it’s time to ask the internet. Check local forums and third-party comparison sites to find the best-rated professionals. If you find several possibilities, make a list and write down contact details for each company.
Speak to the Contractors on the Phone
When it comes to finding a reliable contractor, sending an email or online form can be a slow process. If your chosen contractor is busy with queries, it could take them days to get back to you – but by calling them, you can get real-time answers to your questions and get a real feel for the company.
Before you call, make a list of all the questions you want to ask the contractor. These could range from their pricing list, their general timescale, and details such as how many projects they typically work on at once.
Do Your Research
Even if you’re happy with the first contractor you’ve called, hold off from making any arrangements on impulse. Make sure to contact all of the local contractors you wrote down and ask them the same questions – it would be incredibly annoying to sign the paperwork with one company only to find out that one of the contractors you didn’t call would have done the work for less!
Ask for a Cost Breakdown
Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of the contractors you’d consider hiring, it’s time to do some sums. Ask each contractor to provide you with a breakdown of the costs (also known as a bid). This should include the cost of the materials they would need for the job, the physical labor, and any overheads.
Getting bids from all of the different contractors will make it much easier for you to compare the companies and choose the one that offers you the best value overall. This means you shouldn’t automatically go for the cheapest option – if one firm is quoting a price that’s wildly lower than its competitors, you need to find out why.
Whatever your project, it’s vital to find the right person for the job. We hope this article has given you the confidence to make smart decisions when searching for a licensed contractor.