Building a house involves taking major risks and making big investments. This is why choosing a contractor you can trust is one of the most important parts of any construction project. But with so many contractors all offering the “best” deal, it can be difficult to weed out the scams from the legitimate offers.
So, what can you do to avoid bad contractors and their empty promises?
Check out these top tips on how to make sure that you’re choosing the right contractors to handle your home construction or renovation project.
- Get estimates from at least three contractors. Getting several estimates gives you the privilege of choice and helps you get rid of suspicious contractors right from the start. Before you examine the offers, make sure to do a quick online research first so that you at least have a rough idea about the going rate for the service or services you need.
- Don’t settle for the cheapest offer. More often than not, the cheapest offer just lures you in with low prices at the start. But when the contracts are signed and the project starts, the hidden costs will rise to the surface. Or else, the contractor will try to cut costs by choosing cheap, low-grade materials. Always study the estimate they give you to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.
- Get a detailed budget estimate. Getting a detailed budget estimate allows you to avoid the hidden costs that usually occur in a construction project. A detailed budget estimate should include the cost of labor and materials, the type of materials that will be used, and added fees from architects, engineers and other subcontractors.
- Check the contractor’s online reputation. If you’re using an established contractor, you’ll likely find some comments and reviews about them online. Try checking forums and trusted online review sites for insights about the workmanship and reliability of your contractor.
- Ask for references. If you can’t find much information about them online, ask the contractor directly for references. If they’re confident about the quality of their work and the reliability of their business, they won’t hesitate to name a couple of references.
- Ask them about their business. You can often tell how dedicated your contractor is by the way they talk about their business. If they sound passionate about their work and the history of their business, take it as a good sign.
- Get them talking about your project. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You definitely want to hire someone who’s knowledgeable and skilled, and asking them questions about your project and even their past projects that are similar to yours can tell you a lot about their level of skill and knowledge.
- Ask them about their licenses and qualifications. This is very important. Never hire a contractor who can’t show you any proof that they’re qualified to carry out the job. And don’t just take their word for it either. When they give you their license numbers, make sure to double check with the proper authorities if they’re legitimate and current.
- Ask them about the insurances they carry. A professional construction company will have the necessary insurances to protect themselves. If they don’t, consider it a red flag.
- Watch out for common construction scams. When a contractor asks you to pay with cash, asks for a big deposit, or insists on signing a contract without giving you enough time to study it properly, cross them off your list at once.
Building a new home or renovating your existing one is a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. But with the right contractor, your construction project can be marginally easier. So before signing any contract, make sure that you’re making the right choice.