IMG_3664Your family’s home renovation project can be a combination of exhilarating excitement and pure terror. You may have heard of contractor horror stories who tore apart kitchens or received a large down payment to never return. This not only leaves your home renovation incomplete, but in some cases it can cost you three times the original estimate just to complete the project! Leaving you with a feeling of mixed emotions.

We understand the anxiety! That’s why we compiled how to find the right contractor in 4 simple steps, ease your contractor worries and read more!

Know What You’re Getting Into

Know what you want before you start talking estimates. Do some research, check prices for your own knowledge. Don’t forget to ask friends and family either, they might have done similar projects! It’s also best to interview at least three contractors, to make sure you’re working with the best people.

Make Sure They’re Totally Legit

Make sure they have their business together before any work begins. There’s a wise saying that goes “check yourself before you wreck yourself”. So make sure to check licenses, litigation history, references and online reviews. Ensure that the contractor pulls building permits when needed. Contractors should be bonded and insured. Also make sure to ask what work will be done by the contractor’s employees and what work will be done by subcontractors.

Make Sure You Compare Work Estimates!

Work estimates need to be detailed enough that you are assured you’re getting proper materials and that the contractor knows what they’re doing. There are contractors that have never received formal training. They just accumulate experience from several years of performing jobs. Formal training for a contractor results in a certification from the manufacturer of the building materials. Manufacturers conduct formal training to ensure the installer knows how to properly install the materials and often means that the manufacturer will warrant the materials after installation. There is formal training on everything from roofing materials to gas piping and everything in between.

Keep Communicating

After making the decision to hire, talk to your contractor frequently. Sign a detailed contract, and don’t be afraid to negotiate ground rules such as down payment for materials and penalty clauses if work is not complete by your needed schedule. Also, don’t sign a contract for your entire renovation budget. No matter how careful you and the contractor are in preparing for the job, they can’t see through walls. Expect to budget at least 10 percent to 15 percent more than your contract amount. This will be a good time to verify insurance coverage, see what is covered by your homeowners insurance and the contractor’s business insurance.

Protect your Investment

The best way to avoid a horrendous experience with a contractor, protect your money! Get lien waivers prior to handing over payment from the contractor, subcontractors and material supply stores. Very important. Don’t make the final payment until the job is 100 percent complete to your satisfaction. No exception.

Remember, picking a quality contractor can make the difference between a job done right and an utter nightmare.