1. Pushing the Deal- A few bids have come in, but one company or contractor in particular is pushing for a fast answer. It’s not a weekend blowout car sale; the deal shouldn’t go away if an immediate decision is not made. You, the homeowner will live in the space, make sure when you sign, it’s the right design, right price, and right person for your project, even you have to take a few days to think it through.
2. How vague is the contract- If you read through and you don’t understand the terms, the work order, what is included/excluded ask the contractor to clarify on the contract. Just because the contract calls for installation of new baseboard, one cannot assume that also includes filling, caulking and painting is also part of that install unless clearly stated. Not clarifying these items can quickly eat through an original agreed on budget.
3. Is your Contractor just the sales person or will be regularly present managing the project- Not all Contractors are present daily (like myself) especially when it may be at a stage where other skilled trades are contributing such as tile or drywall crew. However, if the trades have questions or more importantly, you as the homeowner do, they might be better answered in person.
4. Do your own due diligence- Homeowners often choose their Contractors by referral from a friend or relative, online listing search, or perhaps direct mail. No matter how you choose, check their credentials. Use the resources available such as The Registrar of Contractors website. Check to see if their license is current (or even theirs and working under someone else’s), also if they are also bonded. You will also see any open/closed/settled complaints and cases against the Contractor if applicable. The BBB website accepts complaints as well. The BBB isn’t necessarily the best source for ratings, as a business can only be rated A+ if the business is a paid member. Ask directly for references from previous clients or look on their website if previous clients have offered candid reviews.
5. Cost vs. Quality- The age old question. Everyone wants the best deal possible. Highest price does not equal highest quality either. This might indicate the Contractor has a great deal of overhead, therefore needs to pass those costs along. A good 50% of my clients are “fixes” or “redos” of the work that was done “not too long ago, but fell apart.” It is usually the same scenario, the cheapest bid, the fastest the work could get done, and now they can’t get a hold of them to come back and fix the problems. Work will ultimately speak for itself. I tell my clients, I am not the least expensive you will find, but I warrant my work and prefer not to ever receive a warranty phone call.
I hope you found these tips of value, I welcome any comments, or questions you may have.