Post details: Finding the Right Contractor - Part 2


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Finding the Right Contractor - Part 2

Interview the Finalists
Arrange to meet with your top contenders. The first meeting should be a lengthy question-and-answer session. After all, the contractor is your link to what's happening during the remodeling process. Finding someone whose work and communication styles are in line with yours helps ensure your project follows a smooth course. Ask questions like these:

- How solid is the company? Check out the contractor's financial stability by requesting a list of references from recent jobs (the past six months or year); then call the people to ask whether the contractor's work schedule corresponded with the payment schedule.
- Is the company properly insured and bonded? Are the subcontractors?
- How well does the contactor know his subcontractors?
- How big is the company? If you prefer fewer layers of control, find a contractor who is small in scope. The smaller the company, the more likely you'll deal with a single contact.
- Ask to see some sample bids and contracts to check whether the contractor is well-prepared. Does he or she put detailed schedule information and specific product brand selections in writing?
- Is the contractor willing to talk with you as important issues arise?Keeping you abreast of delays or changes will prevent unpleasant surprises.
- Does he or she put change orders in writing? These amendments to your contract, such as substituting one product for another, should be documented.
- Will the contractor provide drawings or samples of the detailing that will be used in your remodeling project?
- Is the contractor willing to go along with your plans to purchase certain building products and/or do some of the installation or construction work yourself, if applicable? Many contractors will provide labor or replacement warranties only on items they buy and install.
- Is he or she accustomed to closely following a complete set of plans? If you have purchased or commissioned detailed plans and expect them to be used, make sure the contractor agrees to your wishes. Once walls are in place, many contractors consult the plans less frequently.

Verify the Facts
During your face-to-face meetings, if something seems amiss or you and a contractor don't seem to connect, pass on that person.

For the contractors you feel good about after you meet with them, verify licenses, bonding, and registration with the local building department. Also check to see if they have any unresolved complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau or local office of consumer affairs.

The contractor who passes all these steps is the one you want to keep. Now you and he or she can sit down and work up the design, costs, budget, and timeline. Together, your remodeling dream will come true.

Better Homes and Gardens



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