How do I Hire a Contractor?
With so many resources available online, it can be somewhat overwhelming to narrow down one company to hire. Things like review forums, paid advertisements, and social media sites exist to create brand awareness, but can be slightly mis-leading if you don’t consider a few key factors. Let’s take a look at a couple here…
This is probably on your list as the more important factor for hiring a company. As well it should be.
If they have ‘20 years in the business’:
You want to know that the company is stable and has a proven ability to complete projects for their clients. If they have been in business for a long time, this is a good sign – they won’t take your money and disappear before the work is done; probably have a physical office location where you could visit if needed; and have a good financial track record.
Going along with a steady work history, does the company have a good or bad reputation? Having experience does not always equal having a stellar reputation.
If they’re a ‘newbie’:
While there is nothing wrong with taking a chance on a newly certified general contractor, you may opt for a more seasoned professional if you’re planning a major renovation on your home. However, being new can sometimes be a great thing. They may work a little bit harder to get things done quickly and impress their clients to establish a reputation.
General Tips: Check out the company's website, customer reviews, and project photo galleries before you give them a call for a quote. Most established companies will tell you their experience level in the “About Us” section of their website. Definitely check that out. Doing a little bit of research goes a long way in building initial trust.
When you first reached out to the contractor/company, did they reply to you right away, or did you feel ignored? Did they call you, or just send a generic email? These little things (response time, personalization, in-person visits for quotes) are the building blocks of creating a good relationship between homeowner and contractor. You want to work with someone who can put the ideas you have in your head down on paper and then make them reality. If the contractor doesn’t ever have time to meet with you or take your call, this is a major red flag.
Once you've hired your contractor, keep the lines of communication open. You’ll first need to establish what those lines are - do you prefer texting, emailing, calling, in home visits with your contractor? This is essential to your own happiness level once the project is completed (feeling like you got exactly what you wanted).
Location / Proximity:
Is the company located close to you? If not, where do they complete of most of their work? If it’s not anywhere near your town, that may be a sign to do more research and find someone who is familiar with your neighborhood. Most construction companies have a sort of ‘home base’ territory, so ask them what that is when you have your first contact. Ideally, you would hire someone living within a short distance to you; someone who knows the area, and can get to the job site easily (to get a full work day in, and quickly swing by in case of an emergency).
Get a Referral:
When in doubt, use your own personal network! The easiest way to connect with a trusted professional is to ask friends and family whom they would refer. They will give you honest feedback about their past experiences working with the individual or company, and steer you in the right direction. This will ultimately save you time and provide more confidence in your decision to hire.
At Home Sweet Home Builders, referrals are also our best clients! Thanks to everyone who has referred us over the years; we truly value your friendship, trust, and feedback!