Hiring a professional contractor or a specialist firm to work on your home is a big deal. You’re letting someone (or several people) inside your “safe place.” As such, there are some sensible things to consider before doing so to avoid issues and keep your family safe.
Here are 4 tips for hiring professional contractors and preventing unexpected issues.
1. Ensure They’re Appropriately Certificated
When working in older properties, such as one that was built before 1978, certain certifications are required of the workers, and this is often the case when children are living at the home. For example, when the contractors will be potentially dealing with lead removal due to older paint, then the EPA requires that they have a lead renovation certificate. Similarly, eradicating mold is a situation where a mold certification is required by the EPA (local agencies may require it too).
To get an idea about the type of training required of contractors dealing with these issues in your home, look at zotapro.com. They have many such courses, and contractors should have similar provable certifications to qualify them for this type of work. That way, they’re abiding by regulations and it will keep the occupants safe too.
2. Does the Contractor Come Recommended?
With so many contractors available locally, it’s difficult to know which ones will be the best pick. Some have been operating alone or with a small team, and for a decade or longer. Others haven’t been around awfully long at all.
Recommendations from friends, neighbors, or co-workers are useful. They can discuss what work the contractor completed and whether it seems to have held up or not. Do bear in mind that these well-meaning people aren’t experts and so early problems may go unnoticed by them.
3. Discuss Over a Video Call
Once you have a shortlist, arrange to make video calls to several contractors to get a feel for them. It’s usually possible to make a phone call, but seeing them in person will let you get a better sense of their character too.
Ask probative questions like:
- Are they willing to share a partial client list?
- What projects have they worked on before and how large were they?
- Do they work on one project or divide their time between several?
- How long have they been in business?
- How well do they know their subcontractors?
Also, check on any business listings in Google. See if there are customer reviews that provide useful feedback. Check with their references to ensure they’re real too.
4. Solicit Bids & Make a Final Decision
Ask for bids for the work from several contractors in the area. Depending on the amount of work involved, the contractor may have basic plans right through to blueprints and more. Look closely at each bid; they should be broken down by material costs, labor, and other associated expenses. Ensure costs are nailed down with specific information on materials, rather than vague figures that aren’t substantiated. Doing so avoids cost overruns and questions over who’s covering them.
A rough rule of thumb is that material costs will be around 40 percent, labor will be a similar number, and the contractor’s profit is whatever is left. Numbers widely outside of these ranges should be examined more cautiously.
By carefully considering the work and checking credentials, it’s possible to end up with a good result when working with contractors. Just ensure they have the right certifications and training to avoid issues cropping up later.