Have you ever hired someone to do a job, only to wish that you’d a) done it yourself or b) spent more time researching the employee in question?
In addition to preparing your house for building work, it’s crucial that you choose the right contractor. Whether you’re having major work done on the foundations of a property and need to employ piling contractors or you’re just redecorating, it’s important that you find a contractor that you trust.
Working out which contractors are best equipped to complete your project is not always easy. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to choose the right building contractor.
What to Consider When Researching Contractors
As well as some of the more obvious things like making sure that anyone you hire satisfies the requirements and regulations of their jurisdiction, there are a few key points that you should consider when looking for a building contractor.
As with more situations, the more experience a company has, the safer you’ll inevitably feel, – but you should check that the type of experience a company has is relevant to your project. If you find a contractor who specialises in beautifully crafted wooden cupboards, but you’re looking for someone to rip out a gas fire, he might not be the best-suited person for the job. Ask to see their portfolio to make sure that their previous work reflects your needs.
What did we ever do without the Internet? It’s now easier than ever find and check the validity of a company or contractor with the click of a button. However, it’s not just online referrals that you should think about – word of mouth is equally important. If you’re aware of friends and neighbours that have had similar building work done it’s worth asking whether they’d recommend the contractors they used.
Online reviews do still count for a lot in today’s climate but don’t let one bad review put you off completely. If you like the look of a contractor save for one or two bad reviews, meet with them and ask them about it – there might be a good explanation.
The type of construction equipment needed will vary depending on the project. Most contractors or companies should have access to all the equipment they need or if not, be able to hire it in specialized circumstances. However, you should make sure they include this equipment in their quote – you don’t want to get stuck with a larger bill than you were expecting after work has been completed. It’s also worth thinking about whether you’ll need removal of materials from the site and whether this will incur an additional cost.
Availability & Locality
Many popular contractors will be booked up months in advance, so it’s a good idea to start your search well before you plan to have any building work done. It’s a good idea to hire a contractor that’s local to you – it means it’s easy to get in contact with them if any problems arise later down the line. They are also more likely to have experience in completing similar work in the surrounding area.
What to Ask Your Building Contractor
If you’ve found a contractor that you trust, it’s worth sitting down with them face to face to ask a few questions. This can be beneficial to both parties and will avoid any crossed wires down the line.
Think about discussing:
In order to be successful, contractors need to be able to offer quality work at a competitive price. Many contractors will offer you a free no-obligation quote, but make sure you discuss what this quote entails. You need to be are aware of any extra potential costs that may arise, and how these can be kept to a minimum. If you don’t feel as though your contractor is being transparent, or is deliberately cagey about price, it may be best to reconsider. Also remember – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you’re employing multiple contractors, this is especially important. For example, if you’re having substantial work done, such as an extension, it’s likely you’ll need a few contractors that specialize in different areas of construction. It’s important to make your chosen contractors aware of your ideal timescale.
Doing a bit of online research means you can check the validity of your contractor. However, you’re also totally within your right to ask them for a list of referrals, testimonials, or a portfolio of previous work. Most building contractors will be keen to show off previous projects.
It’s important to remember that any contractor you hire will be in your home for days, weeks or even months – so it’s essential that you find someone that you trust 100%. In addition to being clear about your expectations, make sure you understand what is expected of you – whether that’s moving furniture (some contractors refuse to move furniture as they don’t want to be liable for any breakages) or making sure pets are locked away.