03 Feb Helpful Tips for Hiring your Contractor
Ready to remodel your home? There are many options when it comes to hiring your contractor, from a designer, general contractor or all inclusive design + build firm. While everyone offers different services, you should be asking anyone coming to look at your space the same questions and you should be aware that they are held to the same standards when it comes to quality and licensing. Below is a list of the important things you should be asking when hiring your contractor.
1. Are they license and bonded? This is probably the most important question you can ask. Anyone you hire should be licensed! Chances are if they aren’t they don’t have insurance either and that could mean trouble for you as the homeowner. Most home owners insurance require that you hire a licensed workers for any home improvements being made on the home. Another thing to consider when hiring someone that maybe unlicensed is to consider that their quality of work may not be held to same standard as someone who is licensed. Not everyone who is unlicensed will do a bad job, however you as the homeowner don’t have that extra assurance knowing that you can file any claims later for the workmanship that was provided.
2. How much should you be paying upfront? This number varies depending on the type of work but in the state of California the Contractor’s State Licensing Board states that is illegal for a contractor to “accept a down payment of more than 10 percent of the total home improvement contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.” Most homeowners are unaware of this legal limit on a down payment, but it is an important thing for you to know. To many times do we hear of people paying 50% for a job, and they never hear from the contractor again. There are laws out there to protect home owners.
3. Be Wary of the Lowest Bidder: Chances are if the price sounds to good to be true it probably is. Many homeowners get really excited and relieved by someone who comes in with such a low price, but what is that price really getting you? Is it the quality you are looking for, and the material. Also those who aren’t paying state licensing fees can come in with a lower bid, because they don’t have all of these other expenses. There are many resources available to home owners that provide the cost of specific remodel in your area, this is something you should do research on in order to be aware of what your remodel may cost.
4. CONTRACT, CONTRACT, CONTRACT: You must make sure to have a contract! This protects both you and the general contractor. Who is paying for specific things, how are payments being arranged and lastly an estimate should be provided on the contract. It doesn’t matter how small the job is, a contract is in your best interest.
A home remodel is a large investment, both monetarily as well as the amount of time a stranger will be spending in your home. Make sure to do your research and choose someone you trust to take of both you and your home.