Doing your homework up front can save you a ton of stress and anxiety down the road. Just because you often see one contractor’s sign around town, don’t assume that they are the best choice to work with. It’s your money, time and dreams – make sure they are in the right hands.
1) Word of mouth. Ask around for the top contractors in your area; then ask your friends who they would use. The best contractors understand that their reputation is everything – and they do their utmost to make sure they live upto it with each project.
2) Interview them. Choose the top 2 or 3 and set up personal interviews. You and your contractor have to be able to communicate and understand each other. You’re not looking for a new best friend, but your contractor will definitely know a lot about you and how you live your life before the project is finished. You want someone you feel comfortable with.
3) Ask for references. Once you’ve interviewed, ask for a list of references from your top choice – then CALL THEM. It’s amazing how often people skip this point, yet the people on the list are a potential gold mine for you. This is the time to ask for details and tips. Was the contractor good to work with? Was the project finished on time? Did they stay on budget? If not, was it the contractor’s issue or did they change plans/materials? When problems arose, how were they handled? How was the communication process? What advice can they give about working with this contractor? Was it an overall positive experience? And the #1 question – would they use them again?
By the time you’ve made it through these steps, you’ll have a solid understanding of your contractor and if they are the right choice for your project.