Unless you're skilled at plenty of construction tasks – as well as masonry, plumbing, electrical wiring and plenty more – you can't handle any substantial home renovation in the do-it-yourself way. You're going to need the services of a contractor with a respectable degree of experience in home improvements, and he or she will likely bring on a number of subcontractors for fields requiring highly specific expertise.
"Hiring the right contractor should never be taken lightly."
Well, what's the big deal with that? It's best to bring in the professionals rather than take unnecessary risks. However, while you might be tempted to outsource these responsibilities and sit tight while contractors work, it simply won't be that simple. You'll have to dedicate time, effort and meticulous care to your choice of renovators. Today, let's take a look at some best practices for finding and making deals with the right contractors, so that every aspect of your home renovation endeavor – from the door installation to the laying of bathroom tile – goes off without a hitch.
Research, research and more research
Don't just reach for the nearest copy of the yellow pages. Go to websites like Angie's List, Home Advisor, Thumbtack, Contractors.com and so on. Contractors will list themselves on one or all of these sites, as This Old House noted, but you also get to submit your project's specifics and have the pros come to you with their interest – as well as feedback and preliminary quotes.
Once you've gotten down to a handful of interested parties, start reviewing the contractors' experience and references. Also, dig a little deeper online and see if you can find customer reviews of their work.
Be careful hiring friends or family
HGTV recommended asking your family, friends and neighbors about contractors they've had success with in the past, and that's quite sensible. However, when it comes to actually selecting a contractor, be careful with those you know personally. This isn't meant to suggest that they're worse by default, of course – but we're more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to those we know and love. If your brother is a renovator, review his qualifications the same way you would anybody else's.
Examine licensure and certifications
Popular Mechanics stated that the most important reason for choosing a properly licensed contractor is that licenses aren't easily rewarded, and serve as evidence of comprehensive knowledge regarding building codes, zoning regulations and any other stipulations to which your renovation will have to adhere. You might not think that the regulations in your small town are particularly internecine, but legalese is legalese no matter where you encounter it.
Certifications, meanwhile, are not important by default, but those coming from widely recognized industry associations are good things to see on a prospective contractor's resume. Some of these groups include the National Association of Homebuilders, the National Kitchen and Bath Association and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Finally, there's insurance – this may be even more important than other aspects. If they cause any damage to your home or city property, or cause someone to suffer an injury, you shouldn't have to be liable for that, but you will be if they aren't covered by a business insurance policy with comprehensive liability coverage.
Draw up a contract
These professionals are called contractors for a reason, after all. Yet in all seriousness, Angie's List explained that it's not only vital to have your contract in writing, but also for it to be exhaustively detailed. The document should include every single line item in the budget, estimates for potential cost overages, a rough timeline (at least) and the names, contact information and license numbers of the contractor and any subcontractors he or she brings on for aforementioned niche tasks.
Popular Mechanics recommended going with your instincts when it comes to choosing a contractor. You should meet all of the professionals to whom you've given serious consideration in person, and if you get a strange feeling from them of any kind, it's best to play it safe rather than end up sorry somewhere down the line. Just move right along to the next name on your list if this happens – the chances of you coming up empty within your entire region are slim.
Last but not least: If home window replacement is included in your renovation plans, be sure to contact NewSouth Window Solutions for helpful tips and some of Florida's best deals!