Hiring a contractor can be a difficult choice. There are many contracting companies wherever you go, and nearly all of them will offer a free estimate. Once you have a general ballpark of how much it’s going to cost for your project, how do you decide which contractor to go with? Check out these three things to know when you hire one to be sure not to make the wrong choice!
First, Ask Questions!
Only ever hire someone to give an estimate that guarantees a free estimate. There should be no reason for you to pay for an estimate, ever! When you’ve got a contractor coming in, don’t forget to ask questions. You need to be assertive when telling them what you want, but also ask for their opinion. What is the difference between products or options he provides? Does the company provide their own equipment, or will you be paying for rentals? What does he think of your plan, and does he have any constructive criticism? Don’t forget that he is a professional, and might have other options you didn’t know about. Don’t let him lead the conversation until you’ve told him exactly what you’re looking for and what you expect.
You Can and Should Ask for Certification.
90% of the time, you’ve got a project that you’ll want a certified contractor working on. Getting someone off of Craigslist might be a good budget choice, but if they’re not certified, you might be opening up your home to larger problems in the long term. They could steal from your home, or mess up and take shortcuts on the project – which never turns out well. This could end up costing you more in the long run, and if they disappear on you, it may be difficult or next to impossible to get your money back.
A certified contractor is backed up by your state, and is proven to be a good worker. You also have a way to get ahold of them if something goes wrong if they try to avoid you. They can be held accountable, and you’ll be more likely to get reparations in the event of a problem. You are completely allowed to ask for a copy of their certification, and you can (and should) keep it in your records just in case.
Always Ask for an Itemized Estimate.
Yes, one contractor might offer a couple grand less than the other, but what’s really the difference? If you just get one number, you’re losing out on information that can help you decide. Always ask for an itemized estimate, from labor to materials to equipment and dumping fees. Getting an itemized estimate will help you see whether one company is already considering the price of getting rid of the waste, or whether there might be sudden charges later on. It also helps you see whether they’re properly planning out what it will take to complete your project, or if they’re only guessing on their labor and materials.
Learn what your project needs, especially if it will cost you to get a permit from the city to dump your waste in a landfill somewhere or if inclement weather forces a pause. Looking at whether the contractor is looking at the big picture or just giving you a simple estimate can be the difference between saving money and maxing out your budget!
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