All of us have moments when we find ourselves looking at our house and thinking “It’s time to do something new.” And while there are simple things that we can do on our own like painting or adding new window treatments, when we want to take on a bigger project like renovating our kitchen or adding a room onto our house, that is something that usually requires the assistance of a contractor.
So before you look in your Yellow Pages or online, we wanted to give you some tips on things that you should consider before starting a home major project. That way, you can know that you found the contractor who is professional as well as affordable.
Consider your budget. Definitely, before doing anything else, you need to sit down and think about how much money you can afford to spend. And remember, when you hire a contractor, you should not only factor in the cost of supplies, but labor too. Our advice? As you’re creating your budget, try and use as much cash as possible. Credit cards come with interest and so you don’t want to end up going over-budget by using them a lot (if you can avoid it).
Consider the time frame that you need the project done by. Say that you want to add on a new bedroom in time for a backyard wedding that will bring a lot of guests to your house. Although in your mind, you’re thinking that it should take no more than a couple of months to complete the project, based on the weather, the other assignments that your contractor has and the time that it will take for the supplies to arrive, it could take a lot longer than that. For this reason, you need to talk to your contractor about creating a realistic time frame for the project to be done.
Consider one another’s expectations. One huge mistake that a lot of people make is not discussing their expectations with their contractor upfront. For instance, do you expect them to cover up your furniture and flooring for you or would you prefer to do it? Do you want the contractor you initially met with to personally supervise the project or do you mind them assigning it to someone else? If there is a last-minute issue with the vendors who are providing the supplies, would you prefer to handle the matter or do you want them to do it? By getting as much clarity on the front end, that can spare you a lot of frustration on the back end.
Consider their communication style. Say that a part of your project is going to require a Los Angeles crane rental for a few days. Well, it’s important that you also make sure that you’re clear on what the contractor and their workers communication style is. First, they definitely need to be reachable by phone during standard business hours. But if you have a question or concern for them after those times, inquire about if they would prefer to be reached by phone, text or email. Also ask them how long you should expect to wait before they return your message.
Consider what the contract says. Although it’s a good idea to develop the kind of rapport with your contractor so that you can easily discuss things face to face, it’s still important that both of you sign a contract. That way, if things do not go as planned, you have documented proof of what your expectations were. It’s a form of protection, just in case you need to go to court. Good luck!