When meeting your new potential contractor, try and have a clear and well thought out vision for your project. Knowing what you want will keep everyone focused and will help you avoid project changes, increases in your timelines, and of course, increases in your budget.
Research what your contractor offers
Some firms can offer both construction and design. Using a combination contractor allows you to save time, gain more accurate cost projections and perhaps most importantly, reduce the risk of miscommunication between designer and contractor. Of course, keep in mind that many basic jobs (i.e. new windows, building a deck, interior renovations) will often not require a designer.
Talk to different contractors
Be sure to ask the right questions. Ask about pricing, verify contact information, read reviews online, ask for pictures of previous projects, and do not be afraid to ask specific questions about process and product.
Don’t just think about price
Sometimes the cheapest contractor may not be the best one for you. Be sure to take all aspects of the project into consideration. Be sure the contractor has a proper project management team to run your projects and is realistic with timelines and ensures quality work. Sometimes choosing the lowest bid can lead to a low-quality job. Because a cheaper contractor may underestimate workload, have a less smooth working process, or have poorer workmanship, in the long run you may end up paying more. If you notice a very large difference in cost between bids, make sure to ask the more expensive contractor what you are gaining from working with them.
Carefully read the contract
When signing off on your final agreement to work with this contractor, make sure your contract includes the following:
- A precise break down of all materials and labour costs
- Clear financial terms including price, payments and fees
- Written warranties either in the contract or in a separate document
- Local code restrictions
Be sure you never sign the contract unless you understand everything in it. If you do not understand all the terms have a third party you trust go over the contract with you before signing
Design-Spec Building Group: Rajpreet Gill