Tips for Hiring a Home Contractor

The foyer of a newly renovated home.

6 Tips for Hiring a General Contractor for Your Home

You may be in the process of hiring someone to perform renovations on your home, and that could mean it’s time to hire a general contractor. If you’re new to this process, it can be daunting to figure out who the best contractor is and what you should look for when finding one. 

The leading custom home builder in Fairfield and Westchester counties has compiled a list of six tips that will help you find and hire the best general contractor for your home renovation needs.

1.) Do Your Research

Finding reputable companies online should be your first step, and a quick search will help you determine which contractors are locally based and can meet your needs. With proper research ahead of time, you’ll easily be able to compile a list of vetted companies that offer trustworthy services. 

Also, something to keep in mind: When searching for general contractors online, do your best to find those with experience on similar projects. If they don’t have direct experience with what you’re looking for, find out how many other projects they worked on that were similar.

2.) Ask For References

When asking for references, make sure you know what to ask — it can get awkward if you don’t know what kind of information you want or need. A reference check should include calling and chatting with your contacts about their relationship with contractors and verifying each contractor’s skills or certifications. 

It’s also best to talk to at least three references that can provide different perspectives on their experiences working with a particular contractor.

3.) Conduct Interviews with Potential Candidates

After you’ve gone through your list of potential home contractors, it’s time to call them. Make sure you have a list of questions in mind that will help you differentiate between each contractor and determine which is right for you. 

Here are some general talking points to get you started:

  • How long have you been in business? 
  • What projects have you worked on similar to mine? 
  • How can I budget around unexpected expenses during construction, and what happens if we exceed our budget? 
  • Roughly how long will the project take and how can we make sure we stay on track?

4.) Obtain Multiple Estimates (Bids)

Once you compile a list of your finalists, ensure you get a written estimate from each contractor; it’s your best defense against being misquoted on certain things, like price and timing. Make sure to ask about everything you want to be done, such as what materials they’ll use and if they can do it within your time frame. 

You should also ask if their contractors are licensed, bonded, and insured. Remember that once you have received an estimate from a contractor, it’s perfectly acceptable to negotiate a lower price. Also, if a written estimate isn’t offered during your initial conversation with a potential contractor, ask for one anyway.

5.) Take Your Time When Making a Decision

When making your final decision, you want to take your time and weigh all of your options. However, in this competitive market, be sure not to wait too long as many contractors are backed up. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t accept an estimate above what you think is fair. But hopefully, in doing all of your research you’ll have an understanding of what is appropriate for your area and the job you are looking to get done.

At the end of the day, you want to work with someone you feel comfortable with and can easily collaborate with.

6.) Know What You Want to be Done & Get it in Writing

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’re clear on everything you want to be done, including all contingencies. For example, if your contractor doesn’t find mold during the initial inspection but later discovers it after starting renovations, do you still want them to complete the job? If so, a contingency in your contract is a must. 

It’s important to get everything agreed upon in writing; otherwise, it can lead to serious problems down the road if there’s an issue with your contractor or their work. Once you’ve selected a contractor, negotiated, and carefully reviewed the contract, it’s time to sign it and inch one step closer to your dream home.

General Contractors in Fairfield and Westchester Counties

If you’re looking for a general contractor in Fairfield and Westchester Counties, Fairfield House & Garden is the company to know and trust. Our skilled craftsmen and artisans are dedicated to providing you with a wide range of home building and remodeling services that will help you get exactly what you’re looking for out of your space.

Call us at (203) 661-8900 or fill out a quick form to get started. We look forward to working with you!