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Things to Know About Hiring a Contractor

By: Old Point National Bank / 14 May 2019
Things to Know About Hiring a Contractor

Here are a few things you should know when it comes to choosing the right contractor for your next home project!

  • Know What You Want. Think about your specific goals for your project such as features or products. If you're not quite sure, hire a design consultant that can help translate the goals for your project.
  • Get Several Bids. It's recommended to get at least 3 bids for your project – half a dozen is better. The more bids you have, the better perspective you'll have on costs as well as the caliber of work each contractor will provide.
  • Do Background Checks. Find out the full company names and addresses of the contractors you're considering and make sure they have a current state license and adequate insurance coverage. Also, determine if there are any recent formal complaints or legal actions that have occurred.
  • Investigate Work History & Work Habits. Take time to see a contractor's work firsthand and look for similarity to your project, quality materials and workmanship and consistent client satisfaction. Also, look for any small indicators that signal a lack of professionalism or carelessness.
  • Set Boundaries for the Job Site. Let them know what you expect such as background checks for anyone with access to your home. Also, establish rules for parking, smoking, bathroom access and any other issues or concerns.
  • Know What You're Paying. Most contractors will charge a fee for a "scope of work proposal" which breaks down the job into line-item costs for labor, materials, etc. This is paid for up front and often applied toward the cost of the project if you accept the bid.
  • Have a Strategy for Resolving Differences. Ask how unexpected issues or differences will be handled such as change orders, unintended damage or a failure to meet legal or reasonable standards. Choose a contractor who communicates and if their first impressions make you feel uneasy, trust your gut.
  • Be Aware of Contract Details. Make sure your contract includes start and completion dates, information on permits and fees, a clear description of products and services, payment terms, subcontractor issues as well as the consequences of default by either party. Also, the contract should exclude you from liability in the event that default occurs (such as a contractor's failure to pay subcontractors).

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