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Tips From The Pros

How To Hire A Contractor
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Like most homeowners, you’ll most likely find yourself in need of a craftsman at some point. Even if you have the skills to perform many of your own home improvements, you’ll probably need expert help with some projects. Sometimes the nature of what’s needed is beyond a do-it-yourselfer’s skill level, or the scope of the work may be too great for you to take it on alone. Hiring a good craftsman can ensure that the work gets completed on time and is performed up to professional standards.

Once it’s clear that you need to hire a professional, the next step is to figure out how to choose the right one. Here are some tips to help with hiring a craftsman:

Look for One with the Right Kind of Experience

Your craftsman should have experience handling jobs that are similar to yours. Experience will prepare them for the technical requirements of the project. They will know which materials and methods should be used to deliver quality work in a timely manner.

Seek Out Recommendations

Ask people you know and trust to recommend a craftsman to you. Another option is to talk to someone in the know, like a building inspector. They may be able to recommend a craftsman in your area who does quality work. You can also try contacting your local home builder’s association. Once you have compiled a short list of craftsmen, then it’s time to move on to the next steps

Ask the Right Questions

Important questions that you should get out of the way from the start include:
  • How long have you been doing this kind of work?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Do you have references from previous clients?
  • How long will the work take?
  • How many other jobs will you be handling at the same time as mine?
  • The answers to these questions will tell you what to expect if you hire them.
Visit a Work Site

Visit one of the craftsman’s other projects so you can see how they work. Pay close attention to the state of the work site and the demeanor of their workers. This will show you how things will be handled when they’re working on your home.

Follow Your Instincts

Remember that your craftsman is going to be spending a lot of time in your home. You’ll be seeing them and interacting with them on a regular basis. If you aren’t comfortable with them, find someone else. If they give you any reason to not trust them – even something relatively small like exaggerating previous experience – don’t hire them. The failure to be completely truthful is reason enough to hire someone else. You should be able to trust your craftsman’s word.

Make Sure That Your Plans Follow the Building Code

No reputable craftsman is going to do work that goes against code. If your plans are not in line with the building code, a good craftsman will refuse your contract. Craftsmen who do accept your contract are likely to be the ones that you should avoid. Building codes are not arbitrary; they exist to protect the public. If a craftsman refuses to go against code, they are looking out for your best interests.

Be Respectful

Remember that good craftsmen are usually not desperate for work. The wrong attitude can result in craftsmen refusing your contract. It is important to ask questions when hiring a craftsman, but it is also best to be respectful and polite. For example, asking a craftsman to explain their methods is perfectly reasonable; telling them how to do their job is not.

Be Ready to Pay for Good Work

If you want quality work, understand that you will have to pay for it. When it comes to home-building and renovation, you get what you pay for, and quality work is never free.

Find out Who Will be Doing the Work

It is a good idea to find out who will be in your house. Will the craftsman be handling the project alone, or will they be hiring subcontractors? For large projects, a craftsman may hire a multiple subs to handle elements like cabinetry, flooring, and electrical work. This can be a good thing since the subs are likely have a better understanding of their specialty than would a jack-of-all-trades; however, it is important that they be competent and trustworthy.

Remodeling your home constitutes a major investment, as does performing extensive repairs. It’s important that you take all the decisions involved seriously. Hiring a craftsman is arguably the most important part of the process.


 

 

 

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