When bringing a contractor into your home to work on a project, you need to place a lot of trust in that person and their crew. You want to make sure they are honest, knowledgeable, and reliable. You also want to make sure that the finished product is exactly what you want. But how do you do that? Here are a few tips:
1. Have a clear vision for your project, whether that is blueprints from an architect for a larger project or inspirational images from Pinterest for a custom mudroom redesign. The more information the contractor has, the easier it is to get you an accurate price and timeline.
2. Ask the contractor for examples of past projects, including photos. Treat the bidding process similar to a job interview by asking the contractor about past challenges, favorite projects and the way he or she works.
3. Verify that the contractor has a valid builder's license. You can ask to see their license or you can look up their license online. In Michigan, this means going through the LARA website.
4. Ask the contractor for a list of references (past clients) and call those references. Have a list of questions for the past clients to really see what it is like to work with that contractor. Some example questions include:
Were you happy with the amount of time it took to do the work?
How was the level of communication between yourself and the contractor?
Did the crew keep the job site neat and clean every day?
What would you do differently if you were going to do your project over again?
5. Get a solid contract in place before any work begins. The contractor should prepare this for you. Read it carefully, and do not sign until you are 100% comfortable with it. Good contracts should support the best interest of the contractor and the client.