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How to Find the Right Trades Contractor

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Finding the right contractors for your project is not an easy task. It is often difficult to determine which companies are reliable, trustworthy, and capable of doing the job properly. When choosing a contractor to hire, it is important that you are looking at more than just the final price. Assessing them based on the quality of work, customer service, and proven work history is necessary if you’re looking to get the job done properly. Here are a few things to consider:

Before You Hire

Define the Project

Before you start to look for a contractor, it is important to clearly define what you are hoping to accomplish with your project. Although you may not know all the details of how to get there, you still need to have a clear vision of the end result. Defining the project includes determining your budget as well as the expected timeline for completion. Speaking with the contractor may alter some of these expectations, however, by setting the goal of the project from the start, it will be easier to ensure you and the contractor are on the same page.

Do Your Homework

Whether you’re doing a kitchen renovation or an exterior upgrade for your home, there will likely be an abundance of online resources to help you understand the scope of the project. Do your homework on what the typical budgets are for this type of project and find out the common hurdles that other homeowners have had to deal with. You may also want to drop into your local hardware or building supply store to do some research on the pricing.

Ask the Right Questions

The contractor is an expert in their field, so it is important to ask as many questions as possible. You're investing hard-earned money into this project, so you have the right to inquire about every aspect of the job. Make a list of questions and have them ready for the contractor. This will not only educate you but also let the contractor know that you’re on top of things.

What Makes a Good Contractor

Certifications and Credentials

The best way to ensure the contractor is qualified for the job is to ask for their credentials. Certain trades require certification in order to work and the unfortunate truth is there are some companies that have uncertified workers on the job. Trades that require certification are the ones with higher risk to the home, such as electricians, plumbers, or gasfitters.

Reviews and References

Taking a look at reviews on Google, Yelp, and other directory sites is a great way to establish trust with the contractor. If the contractor doesn’t have any online reviews or testimonials, it may be a red flag and indicate the company is either not well established, or chooses not to showcase client reviews. Good contractors will make references readily available to you from their past projects to prove their work history.

Presentation

The way the contractor presents their company tells a lot about the pride they take in their work. Good branding can include a great website, business cards, company trucks, and uniforms. Although a good brand doesn’t always translate to good quality work, it is an indicator that they are professional. Even the way they present their quote proposal says a lot about their attention to detail and customer care.

Good Communication

With most renovation or new construction projects, budgets are high and so are stress levels. Homeowners may feel overwhelmed with large-scale projects, so good communication is vital during the process. Communication can be as simple as a quick text or email. The contractor should feel a responsibility to ensure the homeowner is comfortable with how the project is going.

How to Find Contractors

Referrals

The primary way to find trusted contractors is through personal referrals. Referrals are great because they established a level of trust immediately. If someone you know was willing to put their trust in a company, it is likely the job was completed to satisfaction. Reach out to your network and ask for referrals to start your trades company search.  

Trusted Websites and Industry Associations.

There are plenty of directory websites that list company profiles to review. Often these websites will list any company that pays them, however, some of them will have a method of vetting them. Look for directory sites that indicate if they have been vetted by the organization and on what criteria. Industry associations are a great way to find top-quality contractors. Some of the top sources include:

  • Homebuilders Association
  • BuildMapper
  • RenovationFind
  • HomeStars

Tips on Starting the Project

Have a Contract

Before the project starts it is extremely important that you have a contract that states the scope of work, the pricing, the timeline, and the payment arrangements. Far too often complications arise from miscommunication and misunderstandings because something wasn’t clear in the contract.

Acquire Permits

If you are doing a large-scale renovation, it is likely you need to acquire permits from the city. Whether you are applying for permits yourself or if the contractor is handling it, it is vital to double-check to ensure everything is in order. It can be a costly mistake if not done correctly.

Final Payment

You may agree to a payment schedule with the contractor that can include a payment upfront with subsequent payments through the process, however, make sure to hold off on the final payment until the job is completed to satisfaction.

Finding the right contractor can be a daunting task no matter how big or small your project is. Hopefully, these tips can help you find the right company for the job.

Additional Read: 9 Common Mistakes That Subcontractors Make

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