Written By: Mike J. Farrugia
Last Updated: 1/31/23
One of the most common topics that is mentioned when speaking with homeowners is the stress and difficulty of finding a contractor they can trust and rely on. Unfortunately, I have heard too many stories of homeowners giving a substantial deposit only to have the contractor (AKA CROOK) disappear. Another common complaint, contractors being late, not showing up, showing up sporadically prolonging the project, adding on costs once the project has begun. These are all reasonable concerns as a homeowner, especially a homeowner whom is not familiar with construction and the process of a renovation. So, how do you find the best contractor for the job? Read on.
You think you've found the right company for your project and are in the process of making a commitment in the form of submitting a deposit. Your contractor should have presented to you some sort of payment schedule, contract and description of what you are paying for. Beware if this is not something the contractor is willing to do! Secondly, what is the contractor requesting as far as deposit amount? This can depend on the scope of work being done but in general, you should NOT be asked to put down more than one third of the total job cost. In most cases, this is an absolute red flag! Lastly, it is a wise decision to not give a deposit in all cash, but to have a check that will leave a papertrail in case something goes wrong.
Will your contractor stick to their word, be on time and reliable? If the contractor is not on time to your initial meeting/estimate, this could be a sign of what is to come. When discussing the renovation process, the contractor should be able to give you their days and hours of operation (not a repsonse such as "we usually arive around 9-10am"). You need someone who is going to DO what they say!
Why did your project exceed the original cost amount? If you had gotten multiple quotes and went for the cheapest option, it is likely that the company could have dropped their number to sign the job, knowing they would add future expenses to add up to what the job should really cost. There are exceptions to this. If you had added on items to the project or something unforeseen happens (Ex: discovering water/termite damage, discovering asbestis, etc), additional costs should then be expected. These situations can easily be avoided with a detailed proposal of the work to be preformed. Also, make sure you ask any questions that you are not certain about and get the clarification you need to feel comfortable.
You as the homeowner should feel confident and comfortable with the company you hire. Be sure to do your due diligence on who your a hiring. Check into their reputation, social media, google reviews and be weary of a low ball contractor. Most of the time, you'll get what you pay for! Lastly, a referral from a trusting friend or family member can alieviate a lot of headaches in the long run.