Choosing the right contractor is important. In a large project there may be some subcontracting involved. You need to be able to get along with the contractor you choose and you need to be assured that they are reliable. There are a few questions that should be asked of the potential contractor to make sure that they will be right for the job.
Finding out the contractor’s business history is important because you need to determine if they are state licensed in your location. Ask how many years they have been in business and what business names they worked under. It is also beneficial to determine if they are paying their employees legally, offer workers compensation, and carry liability insurance. Some contractors are members of professional associations. You may even ask for references from the contractor on past projects that are similar to yours. It is also a good idea to demine if the contractor has ever filed for bankruptcy or if they have been sued in the past.
Many projects will take longer than there finish date and go over budget. You should find out before you begin the project what their start date will be and when they plan on finishing. The written agreement will need to include start and finish dates, timetable of tasks, and a list of materials. Make sure you discuss how they handle problems that arise and how it will affect the timeline and budget. Even though you have a written agreement it is a good idea to check in from time to time to make sure everything is getting accomplished. Also find out the best way to get ahold of the contractor and come up with a communication plan.
The Bottom Line
Asking for an estimate is second nature when hiring a contractor but it is important to look closely at each one. Look at each fee to determine if it is necessary and make sure it is not overpriced. Estimates that are low may not always be a good thing. Contractors may be able to charge less because they quickly finish a project without making sure it is done right. Also determine how the price will be affected if problems arise during the project.
Get it in Writing
Everything that is discussed should go in a written contract. Start and finish dates need to be figured out from the start to fix any surprises without losing too much time on the project. Make sure they have factored in all of the equipment needed on the estimate such as shingles, lumber, roof equipment supports, electrical fixtures, and anything else depending on the project. You can even contact a lawyer to write a contract that will have everything included in case there are any legal problems.
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