For a homeowner with renovation on their mind, it isn’t the work itself that is most concerning, it is finding a reliable and competent contractor to do the job. Knocking down a wall is simple compared with the struggle of hiring a professional who will perform at a high level from start to finish. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the guy who tore the kitchen apart and never came back, or the project that ended up costing way more than the original estimate.
Even with a great contractor, the renovation process can be stressful and expensive, often involving unpleasant surprises. The right contractor can help a homeowner weather these types of situations and avert disaster.
For a big project, you need a general contractor, and he or she will in turn hire subcontractors for specialty work. They will know who is competent and experienced and will be able to help you avoid dealing with those who aren’t all they say they are.
Make sure you know what you want before you get any estimates. Your estimate will be more accurate if you are specific about time and materials. Talk to friends and neighbors and others that you trust and get recommendations. Interview at least three contractors, ask lots of questions, and get bids from each one. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, and when your candidate is chosen, expect him or her to be too busy to start right away. After all, a busy contractor is in demand; always a good sign.
Check licensure, complaints, and litigation history to make sure all is well. The BBB is a great place to start. Checking their references will let you know what their track record is when it comes to job completion, and level of excellence.
Make sure your contract is complete and clear, and includes deadlines, progress payments, and material lists. If anything is not documented, it comes down to your word against theirs.
Most renovation projects will require permits, and you need to make sure that you have in hand all that you need before the work starts. Never start work without a permit just to save money, even if your contractor suggests it; tearing something down after the fact is a waste of money, and the contractor will not do it for free. You can also incur fines in cases like this.
No matter how careful you and your contractor are in preparing for the job, expect surprises that will add to the costs. Plan to pay 10-15% more than your contract states. Don’t make your final payment until work is 100% complete. Even the best contractors can get busy with other things and find it difficult to come back for the last details.
Here at Ascension General Contractors, we have your best interests at heart. Call us today with your renovation plans at (615) 750 2345, or visit our website: Ascension General Contractors.