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6 Things to Know About a Contractor Before Hiring Them

Category: DIY Tips

Hiring an independent building contractor can be tricky business. While they are a huge help in achieving your project dreams, all contractors are different and work on different sets of principles and schedules. No two contractors are exactly alike in how they operate their business. It’s important to make sure you know exactly who you are hiring to execute your project, whether it be a small fix-up, a renovation, or a massive new home building project.

Don’t worry: we’re here to help! We work with building contractors all day long here at BRBS and know plenty about the building contractor business from both a customer and a professional standpoint.

Here is our checklist of 6 essentials to make sure you ask, know, and agree with when hiring a contractor for your next job.

1. Ensure that the contractor is properly licensed and insured. This is a big one and possibly the most imperative point on this list. You never want to hire someone out of the blue who isn’t concerned about protecting both you as their client and themselves as the professional. Check reviews from past clients, as well at their Better Business Bureau profile and consumer reports–this can tell you much of what you need to know about customer satisfaction and overall business rating surrounding the builder you have in mind.

2. Contracts, paperwork, & documentation–oh my! When you hire an independent contractor for your job, you’ll become very familiar with paper and pen. It’s important to make sure all the legalities are covered, as well as to make sure your project is done right. Make sure you read over everything thoroughly and don’t be afraid to ask questions or suggest revisions if need be. YOU are the client, after all.

3. Arrange one easy method of communication throughout your project. This will make things quick and smooth whenever there are hang-ups, which unfortunately are inevitable for most home building projects. For example, you may request a certain type of wood and your builder goes to buy that wood and…darn, the building supply is out of stock indefinitely, what to do now? Maintaining easy communication between the two of you makes the process much more convenient for all parties involved. It may also be beneficial to have a weekly meeting throughout the duration of your job to make sure everyone is on the same page.

4. Make time to meet their whole team. Make sure you know who everyone is and who will be on the site of your project, whether it be inside your home or elsewhere. Sometimes, contractors will sub out for extracurricular tasks (for example, if you are having a home built and the contractor is a home builder but doesn’t have an electrician on their team, they will sub out an independent electrician to do the job. Make sure you know who the subs are and that you agree with them working on your project!)

5. Know their schedule & make sure you agree on combining yours with theirs. Contractors have a work schedule too, just like any other job. Even though theirs may be much more flexible than a typical 9-5, they will still most often have set hours that they work within. Make sure their schedule works with yours. Make sure YOU are a priority to them. Ask questions about the times they plan to be working inside your home or at your job-site. Have a conversation about changes to schedules if need be, always keep communication open.

6. What is their design style? You want to make sure you are hiring someone whose building and design aesthetic matches yours. Contractors often take some artistic license within their construction, despite the fact that you will have quite a lot of input into how your project will look. Try looking up their website or social media to get an idea; most likely they will have posted several pictures to these pages to showcase their work. It’s important to get a feel for the contractor’s overall style before you hire them. This may go without saying, but simply don’t hire someone who doesn’t match the look you desire.

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