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The overwhelming process of hiring a contractor can be made easier with a little preparation. Knowledge is power, as they say, and your best chance at a great result, whether your project be a renovation or a brand new build. Know what you want, what you can spend, and research several contractors to find the best fit for your project.

1) Know what you want

Before you begin searching for contractors, make sure you know what you want and how much you are able to spend. The more details you know before hiring a contractor, the better. Are there specific materials you have in mind? Are there unusual circumstances the contractor should know about?

2) Ask for references

Personal recommendations from trusted family members, friends or industry professionals are the best place to start. Internet reviews can also provide solid support material.

3) Make the calls

When reaching out to potential contractors, cast a wide net. Your first contact with contractors will confirm whether they or their firm are appropriate to the type and scale of your project.

  • Would they be working on the project or do they typically employ subcontractors?
  • What experience have they had in the past with similar types of projects?
  • Will their schedule availability coincide with your schedule request?
  • How do they handle delays out of their control, such as those caused by weather?
  • What is their policy on changes once the project has begun?

4) Get at least three bids

It’s time to gather estimates and you want more than one. Multiple options will give you a well-rounded outlook on your project. Design, timeline for completion, potential hurdles and total cost are all variables likely to shift from one contractor to another.

5) Pick the winner

Several factors will be at play as you trim your decision, and cost will always be a driving force. Don’t let cheapest win simply because it’s the cheapest. The old adage still rings true: you get what you pay for.

6) Sign the dotted line

Get a contract. If a contractor is reluctant to draw this up with you, you’ve selected the wrong contractor. Review the document carefully and remember that every detail matters: specific tasks, projected start date and end date, materials, insurance, and payment plan.

7) Review materials and prepare

It’s go time. A final review of plans, colors, and sample materials before they break ground (or wall) can eliminate additional time and expense later. Make certain the space is ready for crew and construction. Remove any valuables from the proximity and allow room for the crew to store supplies should this be necessary.