How to Deal With A General Contractor

How to Deal With A General Contractor

A lot of the country endured Superstorm Sandy, and this Winter has been pretty tough on plenty of places. It’s all a reminder that you might someday find yourself dealing with a professional contractor–whether you’re fixing up some damage or maybe just doing some home remodeling. Sometimes it’s hard to find a contractor that’s professional or even good at their job. You want to hire someone that knows what they’re doing, someone who’s trustworthy, and has a good reputation. Above all, you don’t want to be rushed or unprepared when hiring someone for the job. Read the following tips on how you can locate and contact the right contractor for whatever project you have in mind.  [photo via flickr]

1) Find the Right Contractor

The hardest part is finding the right contractor. If you don’t already have a go-to person or company, your best bet is to find references you can trust. Ask people you know, friends and family, if they recommend any contractors. Hopefully, you’ll have a name or two on hand before you need one but if you don’t, you may need to find one yourself. If you haven’t already, you may want to sign up for Angie’s List. This paid service gives you access to a large list of service companies including contractors that have been reviewed by real people. Since businesses don’t pay to be on the list, you know you’re getting a legitimate review.

2) Ask Questions and Get an Estimate

Before you start calling any contractor, make sure you write down a list of questions that are important to the job and don’t forget to ask for an estimate. Some questions you may want to ask include the following:

     How long have you been in the contracting business?

     How long do you estimate the job to take?

     What kind of experience do you have with this specific job?

     How much will the job cost?

     Do you have any references?

Make sure the contractor seems reasonable and sounds professional. If you’re not sure whom to hire, you may want to call several local contractors to compare.

3) Read and Sign the Contract

Make sure you thoroughly read the contract and if you have any questions regarding the document, be sure to check with the contractor. If he doesn’t give a good answer or brushes you off, you may want to reconsider signing the contact. Don’t forget to make a copy of the document for yourself just in case.

4) Let Them Work but Stay Alert

Now that you hired the contractor, it’s time to let him (or her) do their job. It’s okay to watch them a little bit, at least at first, but you’ll need to relax and let them do their job. If you ever feel that something is amiss, feel free to take note and let the contractor know what the problem is. Hopefully, the contractor will listen and correct any mistake or problem that was made, but if the contractor is unwilling to compromise or does not respond to your concerns, you may have to let him go and look for someone else to complete the job. Remember, you are in control when it comes to who completes the project and ultimately, if you’re satisfied in the end.