Making home improvements can be an exciting and scary process. Having a vision and then picking the right contractor to create it isn’t as easy as it seems. Read my post to find out the five things you must know when hiring a contractor. Don’t forget to grab your free interview questions from my free resource library to guarantee a successful experience on your next home improvement project.
Am I the only person who feels like they are on an emotional roller coaster ride when it comes to making home improvements? One minute I’m excited about the new project that is about to take place, only to be filled with fear and worry the minute something doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Not having the handiest husband (He does have plenty of other amazing talents!), we always have to hire someone when thinking of making any improvements to our home. Unfortunately, we have had our share of horrible experiences and made many mistakes when choosing someone for the job. It can be pretty scary!
Through many failed attempts and a ton of wasted money, we have finally figured out the right steps to take when hiring a contractor for the job. We just recently went through this process for two outdoor projects here at the lake. One of the projects, our new pergola, was completed today. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome! You can see the amazing transformation throughout this post.
We hit a home run with this contractor because we now know what to look for and what questions to ask when interviewing for the job. Wondering how we picked the best person?
Here are the 5 Things You Must Know When Hiring a Contractor
- Schedule multiple estimates – Use my free interview questions (available in my free resource library – get the password at the bottom of this post)
- Do some homework
- Review your estimates
- Contact contractor/contractors you want to work with
Recommendations: The minute we decide on a project we want to do in our home we begin asking around to all our family and friends to see if they know anybody who can do the job. When someone you know has had work done by a contractor, you have a pretty good idea of the quality of work you will receive. If you can’t find any recommendations from family and friends you can always try using something like the Nextdoor app or a paid service such as Angie’s List. Keep in mind that some of these sites or apps might have people who just like to complain for fun (pretty annoying!), so use them with caution. If you have done your research, and find the contractor’s work appealing, schedule an estimate and see how you feel after meeting with them.
Schedule multiple estimates: I’m sure you’ve heard the concept of getting a second opinion. This doesn’t only pertain to doctors, folks. I highly recommend that you schedule at least 3 different contractors to come out and give you a quote for your home improvement job. At the same time, too many estimates can become overwhelming. A safe number is somewhere between 3 to 5 estimates. This number gives you the opportunity to “interview” for the best candidate for the project.
To help you with the interviewing process I’ve created a list of 10 questions you should ask any contractor before hiring them. Print multiple copies and place them on a clipboard so they are easily accessible when you are meeting with the contractors. The questions are available in my free resource library. You can get the password at the bottom of this post.
Do some homework: Search the contractors’ websites, Pinterest, or Google for some ideas and inspiration for your project. You don’t need to know every color or finish you want in your project, but you should be prepared to give the contractor a general idea of what you are looking for. From this, a good contractor should be able to add their own “vision” into the project and come up with a plan. Most importantly, having a general idea of where you want to go with the project will allow the contractor to come up with a more accurate quote since they have a better understanding of your wants and needs.
Review your estimates: I recommend waiting until you get all your estimates before you start digging into them. It’s nice to have them all side-by-side so you can compare apples to apples. Most contractors should have their quotes to you in a decent amount of time, definitely less than a week. Honestly, if you have to hunt a contractor down for their estimate you probably don’t want to do business with them anyway.
With most home improvement projects comes a budget, but I warn you not to just automatically sign on with the person who has the lowest quote. On the flip side, don’t assume that just because a company is charging more for their services that they’re going to have the best product. Look at all the estimates and make a list of exactly what you want to be done for your project. You will have a better picture of this after looking at all your estimates.
Contact contractor/contractors you want to work with: In most cases, we tend to end up with a couple of contractors we are willing to work with after going over our estimates. Construct an email listing all your wants and needs and send it to the remaining contractors. Ask them to provide a more specific estimate now that you have a clearer picture of what you want.
Remember that there is always some room for negotiation. With this in mind, it’s okay to add in your email that you have narrowed your search down to one or two other companies. This will guarantee that the contractor will respond with their best price in hopes of outbidding their competition.
With this method, Patrick and I were able to secure an amazing contractor. He put together this beautiful pergola from scratch! Following these steps, along with asking the right questions when interviewing for a contractor, is the perfect combination for getting good quality work with little to no headaches along the way.
With the construction now out of the way, the decorating can begin. My favorite part! Stay tuned for my upcoming outdoor space decorating reveal.
Curious to see what the inside of our lake house looks like? Check out some pretty pictures in this post.
GET MY FREE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS PERFECT FOR PICKING THE BEST CONTRACTOR FOR THE JOB!
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