Doing a rehab/remodel can be one nightmare event after another if you don’t have a plan in place. Your plans can look GREAT but if your contractor isn’t up to it, then the entire thing can turn into a nightmare of epic proportions! Before you hire a contractor to perform the tasks, we recommend the following steps.
Call them. If they don’t have time to talk with you on the phone, move on. It’s just poor business not to take the time for a cold call. Ask key questions;
- What are the typical sized jobs they take on and is yours too small or too big?
- Can they provide a list of previous clients you can contact?
- How long have they worked as subcontractors?
- Are their workers licensed and insured? Can they provide documentation to prove this?
- Are they willing to provide financial references from suppliers and banks
- No answers or the wrong answers to any of these should immediately tell you if they are dependable and able.
Face Time. Set up several interviews and meet face-to-face, preferably at your property. You need to connect with them, and be able to cut through any b.s. Don’t get over-charmed by their budding personality. Take the time to get to know them. Are they constantly checking their cell phone or watch? They are not the right one. Are they talking over you? They aren’t the right one. Afterward, have your Executive Virtual Assistant over at ORCVirtual, Inc. check them out with your state’s consumer protection agency, local Better Business Bureau, and other online resources. You don’t want someone with a history of client disappointments, contract issues, job completion problems and disputes. Make sure they include what codes and permits they would need for the tasks. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE!
Visit a Current Job Site. From the references, ask if you can come see their handiwork. Ask the contractor if you can visit a current project they are working on.
Bids. Get bids. Get it in writing. Many times you can tell by the quality and detail (or lack thereof) of bids and quotes, if you are dealing with amateurs or professionals. Ask them to break down the quotes by labor, expenses, cost of materials, and profit margins. The commonly accepted materials for a project will be about 40% of the total cost, according to This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.
Payment Schedule. A typical payment schedule may look like this:
- 10% down
- 3 payments of 25%
- Final 15% after FULL completion
The bottom line when making ANY kind of purchase is to do your due diligence. Research, ask questions, required paperwork, and make sure you follow-up constantly on the progress and hold them accountable to their contractual obligations.