Selecting Your Own Contractor: Insights & Strategies
Updated: Sep 14
by Hannah Korsmeyer
Navigating the realm of finding the perfect contractor for your home renovation or new construction venture can be quite the puzzle. Especially when your goal is to ensure a blend of stellar reviews and top-notch craftsmanship. While Alexa Interiors boasts a roster of dependable local contractors, if you're keen on conducting your own contractor hunt due to budget considerations, fret not! Here's a handy checklist to ensure you handpick the ideal contractor for your project:
Gather Multiple Estimates: The magic number is three—try to gather estimates from three diverse contractors to pinpoint the one that harmonizes best with your budget. Scrutinize estimates for factors like material costs, work methods, and project timelines. Trust your instincts and ensure their estimate resonates with these key elements.
Opt for Local and Licensed Professionals: In the realm of troubleshooting, local contractors offer convenience and accessibility that large corporations might lack. Not to mention, they're well-versed in the building codes specific to your area.
Vet Their Track Record: The true testimony lies in their past projects. Seek references from prior projects to gauge the quality of their work, customer service, and craftsmanship. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource for uncovering their professional repute. A minimum of five years' experience is a favorable credential!
Take Your Time with the Decision: You're under no rush to sign a deal with the first contractor you meet. Dedicate time to read through the fine print in estimates and contracts and be cautious of large up-front deposits.
Verify Insurance and Bonding: Request a Certificate of Insurance (COI) from the contractor as assurance of their insurance and bonding. Feel free to authenticate this directly with their insurer using their policy details. A contractor without insurance can expose you to liability for on-site accidents.
Solidify Everything in Writing: Prior to agreeing to any work, ensure a comprehensive contract is proposed. This contract should be crystal clear and well written. Consulting a legal expert before signing is an important step. The contract should encompass:
Detailed task descriptions and itemized pricing.
Payment plans, including necessary deposits.
Estimated project start and completion dates.
Applicable guarantees (what is guaranteed, who is responsible, and how long it is valid).
Signatures from both parties.
Familiarize Yourself with Cancellation Rights: Federal regulations may allow you to cancel a contract without penalties within a defined "cooling off" period. The Federal Trade Commission can provide the laws governing your state and your rights.
Avoid Full Up-Front Payments: While initial deposits are customary, never pay for the entire project cost before completion. Payments should be made out to a company, not an individual, and cash transactions should be avoided.
Be Prepared for Delays: Blame can't always be placed on contractors for potential delays. Factors like weather frequently impact the project timelines. It is best to adjust your plans accordingly pending altercations.
Keep a Job File: It's important to file your contract and all supporting documents in a single folder! Change of orders, plans/specifications, bills and invoices, canceled checks, COIs, and any notes to the contractor can also be housed in this file.
If you still aren't feeling confident selecting your own contractor, Alexa Interiors has your back! We encourage new clients to connect with us for guidance on contractors and project management. Your journey to a successful home transformation is our priority!