Six Steps to Hire A Contractor

From on October 09, 2007 in General Remodel

At CalFinder, we realize the importance of finding the perfect contractor for your home improvement needs. You want to hire someone who understands your requirements and can collaborate on your ideas. Someone with the expertise to see your project through nothing less than perfection. Someone with the professionalism to work hard and finish what they started. Sound too good to be true? We don’t think so. Here are six steps you can follow to find a good match.

  1. From Grand Plans to Minor Schemes: Know What You Need

    Know what you want. It seems basic, but knowing what you want can prevent a lot of unnecessary hassle. Don’t expect a contractor to invent your project for you, then wind up disappointed if they don’t get it right. Besides, a little research can be the most fun. Look through books, blogs, and magazines, read up on the subject to understand the different ways your project can come to fruition, even cut out a few pictures. Then, when it comes time to talk to a contractor, you will have, at the very least, a starting point. You may also determine if you need a general remodeler or a specialist.


  2. Get the Word On the Street

    When you see a good movie, what’s the first thing you do? You tell everyone else you know to go and see it. Companies that do well are similar to good movies – they get referrals. So, if you’re looking to remodel a bathroom, talk to people you know who recently did the same. They will likely have some wise words to share. In this way, you can begin to separate the good apples from the bad. CalFinder also believes in “the word on the street.” This is why we interview at least 10 previous clients from potential contractors we certify.


  3. Shop Around

    Now that you may have a handful of potential contractors in mind, compare prices and get estimates for your job. See which companies are charging more and why. Then match your desire for custom parts, for instance, with your willingness to pay a little more.


  4. Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

    You might be surprised to learn how many businesses operate with expired or invalid licenses. Make certain your contractor is licensed and insured. It’s not only adviseable to you, but it’s their legal obligation to have current paperwork. This is why CalFinder does an in-depth search on every potential contractor’s compliance standards.


  5. Meet them Face to Face

    Conduct interviews. Even the most impressive professionals on paper can contrast drastically from their telephone and in-person personas. By asking questions and demanding on-the-spot answers through informal phone calls, office inquiries, or planned meetings, you can gauge a contractor’s level of professionalism and expertise as well as how well you work together.


  6. Get Specific, and Let Go

    Getting specific means matching your needs to a company’s capabilites. Perhaps the general contractor you’ve had your eye on does not install the solar panel equipment you want to purchase. However, once you do find a contractor by following steps 1 through 5 above, let go. After all, you opted not to do this project on your own. By all means, monitor the work being done in your home, but at the same time, let the expert do what you’ve hired them for.