Tips for Finding a Great Contractor
When it comes to making a profit on a property, the right contractor can make all the difference in the world.
Unfortunately, finding one who consistently delivers high-quality work on time and on budget is easier said than done–unless you know what how to approach the process as well as what red flags to avoid.
Here’s a look at six tips for finding a great contractor:
1) Take your time
It’s true that time is money, and the sooner you can complete a project the sooner you can turn a profit. But’s it’s also true that rushing to hire a contractor can wind up costing you a lot more money in the long run.
So take your time, make sure you know everything about the project for which you’re hiring a contractor, and resist the urge to hire the first contractor you interview.
Taking a little more time to find the right contractor can actually result in the job getting done more quickly.
2) Ask for referrals
Your friends and family members can be great resources, so ask them who they’ve worked with in the past. If they have a contractor who did a great job for them, you’ve got a good starting point.
Once you have a referral, keep asking for more. If there is a name of one a contractor that keeps coming up, the chances are good that you have found a good one and you might be ready to conduct an interview.
3) Make sure there’s a connection with your contractor
Interviewing and hiring a contractor is a lot like dating–and not speed dating.
You’re going to want to take the time to really get to know your contractor. Interview several and ask a lot of questions. Get personal by inquiring about his or her life history, specialties and interests. Look into professional affiliations, licenses and insurance.
And then make sure you feel comfortable with your contractor. After all, you’re going to be working closely together so a connection is incredibly important.
4) Get specific
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses–even contractors. Finding a contractor who has experience working with homes that are of similar age and style to yours can go a long way toward increasing your chances of success.
Before you hire a contractor, make sure you discuss in great detail the experience he or she has working with your specific type of project.
5) Ask for references
After you’ve interviewed contractors and found a couple you like, it’s time to dig deeper by asking for references.
How many? As many they can give you.
A contractor with a solid track record of success should be able to provide you with a long list of happy clients. Call them all and ask about professionalism, deadlines, costs and the overall quality of the contractor’s work.
Past clients will be able to provide a lot of information–especially if you call a lot of them. Make sure you put a list of questions together and them of each reference. Chances are good you’ll start to see patterns develop that will help you determine whether the contractor is right for you.
6) Pay as you go
After you’ve hired your contractor, it’s important to remember that you’re still in charge of the project. You should protect yourself by setting up a payment schedule that allows you to pay as you go.
Start with 10 percent down and then pay in additional 10 percent increments until the job is complete. This protects your interests and provides the contractor with an incentive to get the job done as quickly as possible.