Things to Consider When Hiring a Contractor

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Undergoing a remodel or new build is no easy task, but it sure is worth it! One of the most important elements to a home project is finding the right contractor. You’ll be spending a few months to over a year (depending on how big your project is) with this person and their team so you want to make sure you have a good relationship. As designers we see the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to construction projects and have put together 4 key things to consider when trying to decide which contractor to hire.

1. Price is important, but shouldn’t be the deal breaker. So many times we see clients choosing a contractor solely based on whoever presented them with the lowest budget. We get it, everyone wants to get the most bang for their buck or find the best deal. But when it comes to your remodel or new build, you want to make sure your contractor does quality work and is the BEST fit for YOU and not just your wallet.  

  • Things to look for when comparing different contractors numbers:

    • Fixed labor costs: these are the numbers to pay attention to most rather than cost of materials. Fixed labor costs are much more accurate at the beginning of a project because the contractor knows the scope of your project and the price it costs to hire subs to do the work. Material costs vary so much depending on what you end up selecting so these numbers are only a ballpark range at the get go.

    • If you notice a big difference between one contractor’s fixed labor costs versus another, ask the contractor with the lower numbers for references of the subcontractors they use. You may just find that the sub-contractors who have lower labor costs also have lower reviews.   

2. Do you vibe well with your contractor? Getting along with your contractor and his or her team is EVERYTHING! We can’t stress this enough. You’re going to be dealing with this person for at the very least a few months day in and day out so if you don’t see eye to eye or can’t stand the person… run. Or just find a contractor that you enjoy being around. 

Think about what traits you find important in a coworker or friend. Honest? Transparent? Trustworthy? Whatever it may be, odds are you will want to hire a contractor with similar traits. There are going to be ups and downs for your home remodel or new build, as hard as your contractor may try it’s something you can’t avoid. And when that day comes and a tough conversation is going to be had, can you picture it going smoothly with the contractor you’re considering? Will they be professional and have your best interest in mind?

3. Organization and response time. Think about the conversations you’ve had with the possible contractors you’re vetting. Were you waiting for days/weeks to get a call back or email response? Or did it take under 24 hours? Did you have to reach out a couple times before hearing from them? Can you get a feel for how organized they are? Do they have their budgets laid out nicely in an excel spreadsheet or scribbled out on a piece of paper? You can get a feel for how organized a contractor is while you’re in the bidding phase so if they aren’t organized at the beginning, they aren’t going to be in the middle of your project either.

4. Ask for references! Your project is a big deal because you are spending a lot of money to update your home or build your dream home. Making sure the contractor you’re about to get into business with does quality work, takes care of their clients, and works hard to make your vision a reality is crucial. And there is no better way to do that then read reviews on their site, online (yelp, google, etc.) or ask for contact information of their past clients that you can reach out to. It’s even better if the contractor you’re potentially working with was recommended to you by someone you know.

Have any questions or want to know more on this topic? Leave a comment or reach out to us on our contact page! We always love to hear from you and know how we are doing. Are there any topics you haven’t seen covered that you want to know about? Let us know!