Categories: Design-Build, Home Remodeling

Don’t DIY Alone: Advice for Working With Contractors

DIY projects are currently all the rage. Anyone with a few tools and YouTube or Pinterest can figure out how to accomplish a wide range of projects, all without needing to contact a professional. There’s just one problem: the more complex your project, the more things there are that could potentially go wrong during the process. Working with contractors who have experience with exactly the types of projects you’re doing is a great way to ensure that your project is done quickly, done right, and completed within the guidelines of your budget.

As you’re working with your contractors to ensure the best outcome for your project, there are several things you should keep in mind.

Advice for Working With Contractors

If you’ve worked with a great contractor for several projects in the past, consider them trustworthy, and trust their advice, it’s fine to go with what you know. If you’re working with contractors for the first time or haven’t had a great experience with previous choices, however, it’s important to go into the selection process with the idea that you’re going to talk with more than one contractor.

You want to know:

  • What type of experience they have that relates to the project you want to complete.
  • What references they have and what previous clients have had to say about them.
  • Whether or not their vision lines up with yours.
  • What their projected cost is compared to other area contractors.
  • How long they’ll need to complete the project, including when they would be able to begin.

Keep in mind that the cheapest contractor is not necessarily the “best” one for your project. In many cases, you get what you pay for with regards to contractors’ experience and skills. If one contractor significantly undershoots others in that area, its important to question why they’re offering such a vast difference in price.

Have a Plan in Mind

When you go to a contractor with no more than a vague notion of wanting to “update” or “upgrade” a particular area in your home, they don’t have much to work with. Make sure before you start that you have a plan in mind for your project, including exactly what you want to finish. For example, if you’re remodeling your bathroom, you want to know whether or not you’re replacing fixtures, the mirror, or the vanity before you begin. Tearing up the floor? Have some idea of what you want to do with the new flooring before you start.

Disclose Your Budget

Many homeowners are terrified of disclosing the amount of money they’ve set aside for a project. If they admit their budget, they assume, they’ll find themselves paying exactly the amount of that budget — or even be encouraged to go “just a little bit” over, like when you’re shopping for other products and a salesman encourages you to go over your preferred price. Working with contractors, however, is different. Once they have your budget, they can find ways to cut costs and stay within it. If you don’t disclose your budget, on the other hand, you can find yourself significantly overspending.

Check Out Their Insurance and Certifications

When you choose a contractor for your home remodeling project, you want to be sure that you’re working with contractors who are responsible, insured, and experienced. Check for certifications to work within your state, as well as any special certifications, awards, or other special mentions they have. You’ll also want to ensure that they are insured to protect you and your home, not just if they make a mistake, but also if a worker is injured while working on your property.

Know What’s Included

When you’re working with contractors, you want to know what’s included in their services. Undertaking a roof replacement, for example, includes knowing whether or not the contractor has a plan in place for dealing with the old shingles and other trash generated from the project. Does your contractor include cleanup services? Will they be protecting the area that surrounds your project from paint and detritus? Make sure you cover all the bases before work begins.

Communicate Regularly

It’s important to establish a professional relationship when you’re working with contractors. You expect a certain level of quality. Certain details may be difficult to communicate at the beginning of the project. Try to stay as close to your original expectations as possible, but don’t be afraid to communicate changing needs or things that you didn’t realize to begin with. If there’s a problem, speak up as soon as possible! The last thing you want is to end up with a completed project that doesn’t meet with your expectations.

Working with contractors can be a very rewarding experience that leads to a home improvement project that you love. The more you know going into the process, the better you can judge your contractor and ensure that they’ll meet your needs to your satisfaction. Don’t DIY alone! It’s well worth the time and effort to meet with a professional contractor who will make your project the best you hoped for.

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