Hiring a professional contractor is the best way to ensure that home improvement projects go smoothly. Don’t just choose the first company that comes up in a search then sit back and assume that everything else will just work itself out, though. Instead, read on to find out what to expect when hiring a contractor.
Before they order materials and making plans, home improvement contractors will schedule an in-depth initial consultation with their new clients. This gives homeowners the chance to ask questions and share information about the project so they and their contractors will be on the same page once the project gets started. Those who want to prepare in advance can see contractor expectations online to learn about what these professionals have to offer.
Some contractors perform their initial consultations on-site, while others do them over the phone or in their offices. Companies that offer phone consultations before taking on projects will send a contractor to perform a walk-through once their clients have signed on the bottom line.
During this visit, the contractor will walk around observing the house’s layout, take measurements, and try to visualize what the home will look like after the remodel. Clients should expect to answer questions, check out samples, and get plenty of information about their options.
Before contractors order supplies or start coming up with a definitive plan, they’ll offer a quote and have their new clients sign contracts. These contracts come in two forms: fixed-price or cost-plus. No matter which type of contract home improvement contractors use, their clients should read through it carefully to ensure that they understand all the terms.
The contractor will make his or her expectations about how clients should prepare their houses clear before the project’s start date. If homeowners are having their entire houses remodeled they may need to look for temporary lodging, but otherwise, they’ll just have to move some or all of their belongings to another room of the house. Homeowners with pets or children should make plans to keep them occupied and out of harm’s way in advance.
Homeowners should find out how the contractor wants to keep in touch in advance. Some prefer phone calls, while others like email. Some companies designate a specific project liaison, while others expect their clients to call the company line and speak with customer service agents.
Set up a schedule for receiving updates in advance. Try to get these conversations out of the way either before or after the crew starts work for the day. Most contractors will also be more than happy to send their clients progress reports if they aren’t staying in their homes.
How to Tell a Good Contractor
Good contractors have all the experience, expertise, and equipment to get their projects finished up on time and under-budget. They’ll keep their clients informed, especially when they have to make changes that will impact the final product or the cost of the project, be easy to reach, and will always take their clients’ suggestions to heart.
The Bottom Line
Finding a great contractor is only the first step toward ensuring that everything goes smoothly during a home renovation. Preparing for the crew, establishing expectations, and keeping lines of communication with the contractor open are all important aspects of ensuring a timely and professional project completion, as well.