Beginning a home renovation process can be exciting, but the process of hiring a contractor to look after your home project can make things a bit stressful. All of the contractors you meet and bids you receive may be a bit confusing. Luckily, we’ve compiled some tips for gathering and comparing contractor bids to make the entire process easier.
What kind of contractor do you need for your home renovation project?
This should be the first question you ask yourself before beginning. A general contractor is typically a wise decision for small or large home remodeling projects such as a bathroom or kitchen. The general contractor is usually the one who oversees the project, and coordinates the labor, materials, and needed equipment for the project. However, if you are trying to complete a more specific project, you can look into contractors with different specializations. Some examples include:
- Windows and doors
- Heating and Insulation
Take detailed notes describing project needs
Do some research on how to write a great project description when you are beginning to contact contractors. Writing a detailed project description is easy, and with these steps, you’ll have one written in no time! Write a clear and detailed description about the size and needs of your project. As you get more bids from contractors, you’ll find it easier to add more flourish to your writing as opinions from passionate professionals influence you. In your description, don’t forget to include:
- An introduction: Introduce who you are, whether this is your first home, or sixth, and how many home renovation projects you’ve done.
- Goals: What do you want out of this project? Explain what exactly you are trying to achieve by completing this project, and include all of the details. Whether you are adding entirely new kitchen countertops, or replacing a deck, make sure to be detailed!
- Additional Information: Include any additional information that may affect a contractor’s bid. Such as:
- Materials you already have
- Your budget
- The ideal timeline for start and end of project.
Keep a list of questions on the side as you begin to receive contractor bids.
So you’ve done your research, written project descriptions, and now are receiving bids. As you begin to accept bids, keep these questions in mind to help you in the final decision:
- What kind of contractor are you looking to hire? General, specialized, or someone who is both?
- Is the contractor licensed, bonded, or insured?
- Does the contractor have references they can give you?
- Will they maintain a clean work site at the end of each day?
- Will the contractor actually visit your property before giving you their proposal, or will they do it over the phone/ computer?
- Is the contractor an efficient communicator?
How to compare different bids.
Once you have accumulated multiple bids, it is time to sit down and decide which one works best for your project needs. Here is some advice on how to decide:
- Compare different contractor estimates: Based on the number of bids, you will begin to see a pattern of project cost. Any bid estimate that seems like an outlier may be a red flag.
- Meet the contractor first: A face-to-face interaction with the contractor you are deciding to work with is vital in the decision process. This interaction will help you determine if communication will work well. This is important, especially if you are about to begin a large project.
- Review contractor’s prior work: Get a hold of the portfolios of all bidding contractors. This will help you see their previous work’s quality. In addition, use any references and contact previous customers to see if the contractor was timely and respectful.
Lastly, don’t decide on a contractor simply because of cost. Think about other factors such as flexibility, reputation, and more.
As you begin your search for a contractor, check out our contractor and services page for local and reliable contractors. Here you’ll be able to view ratings and reviews from local Villagers.