Five Tips for Selecting a Contractor

When embarking on a project or renovation, searching for a contractor can be a stressful task. While finding someone local may be easy, finding one who is reliable and reasonable is key. We’ve put together a few tips to help you find the right contractor.

Finding Your Contractor

Find out what kind of contractor you need before you start your online search.

Specify your Contractor

Before searching ‘Local Contractors’ on the internet, begin by identifying the type of project you’re pursuing. There are different types of contractors with a wide range of skillsets and expertise, and you’ll need to hire the right one. Are you planning to build a pergola? Do you also need someone who can lay a patio and enhance your landscaping? Find a contractor who specializes in your project requirements to ensure the best outcome. If you’re considering a full-scale project, a general contractor might be the best option as they take on the role of a project manager, utilizing their network of skilled laborers and subcontractors.

Word of Mouth

Start with your friends and family and ask them if they’ve gone through a contractor for a similar project. Ask who they hired and assess the work completed. Understand the experience: Did the contractor deliver on the vision? What concessions had to be made along the way? Whether it was a positive or negative experience, it will help you narrow down your options, and shape your expectations going into the project.

Selecting Your Contractor

Set up a meeting with the contractors who made the final cut.

1. Online Presence

Today, most reputable companies and contractors have a website and/or social media presence. Typically, these will give a background story of who they are, what they do, how long they have been around, and their reputation. If possible, browse through their portfolio and it will give you a better idea of the type of work they do and if they seem like a potential fit for your project. Most contractors want to deliver quality work that they’re proud of and will help boost their portfolio.

2. Reviews & Comments

Check the web for reviews or comments on platforms such as Google, and Facebook, or online communities such as Houzz. These remarks are often written by clients or other business professionals whom you may already trust. Sometimes, photos also accompany these reviews which are a great bonus.

3. Availability

Contractors generally start filling up their schedules very early in the year. Check the contractor’s availability and see if they can complete the project within your preferred timeframe. If they are in high demand, you might have to wait in line. However, someone who is in high demand is also undoubtedly good at their job and might be worth the wait. If they are available immediately, they may be new to the business, or just so happen to have an opening in their schedule. Either way, treat it as an indicator to do a little more research on the contractor.

4. Are They Licensed/Insured?

Determine if the contractor is required to be licensed to perform the job. If so, research the local licensing requirements. Confirm the contractor is insured and meets the licensing needs. It could save you from potential extortion that we all fear and without proper insurance, you could become liable if a worker becomes injured on the job or if the property becomes damaged.

5. Meet them!

Look out for signs, good or bad. You’ll have to interact with this contractor regularly. Some indications of a good contractor are someone who is fairly punctual and responsive (keep in mind, they’re handling other projects, and running late isn’t a complete red flag). When you meet with this person, are they attentive and listening to what your goals are? Do they understand the local building permits? A few things to also look out for are the negotiation of payments, how they speak about other clients or vendors, and of course, don’t forget about your contract. If someone is verbally agreeing to do work without a written contract, this might be a red flag. You can’t spell contractor without contract!

Remember, a contractor is managing multiple qualities and requests. You may not find someone who provides superior work with the lowest prices or someone who is punctual and can start the project on short notice. But know that with some research and preparation, it’s possible to find the right contractor who can bring your vision to life.

Are you planning to build a pergola? Our Product Specialists can help recommend a contractor for your outdoor project. Contact us today.