Renovating a home is a major task – it’s a project that requires a good deal of preparation, organization and knowledge. Without the right general contractor, you could end up with a botched project and an overall experience that is less than ideal. Not sure how to choose the best contractor for the job? Start with a thorough search that includes seeking word-of-mouth suggestions from friends and neighbors and searching digital marketplaces.
General contractors make your home renovation experience a smooth and successful one. It’s unlikely that you, the homeowner, will be able to spend all your time overseeing and managing various subcontractors. There are a lot of moving parts that contribute to the success of your renovation project, so it’s essential that everything comes together smoothly. An experienced general contractor will be able to manage all the moving parts of a home renovation, including subcontractor work, inspection approvals, obtaining permits and other building requirements. Here’s how to choose the best contractor for the job in seven quick steps:
- Find a Company You Can Trust
First and foremost, you’ll want to select a contractor you can trust. Avoid accepting a bid from your contractor over the phone, as you won’t have the full scope of their abilities without an in-person conversation. Make sure you have met the contractor in-person and have walked them through the home. Conducting a walk-through with the contractor and explaining the renovation in detail is the best way to ensure you receive an accurate cost estimate.
It’s also a good idea to provide the contractor with an itemized list of all changes you want to make within the home. If the initial bid you receive from your contractor is exceptionally high or low, be sure to ask what the reason is for the amount. Be thorough and detailed when it comes to examining this preliminary phase of your project.
- Consider Your Specific Needs
In addition to costs, it’s important to consider what projects a contractor specializes in, if applicable. Be sure to ask the contractor about their prior experiences. A reputable contractor should be able to give you photos and references from past projects.
Think about the specific needs of your project. Are you remodeling one room or an entire home? Do you need someone who also has experience with landscaping and dry scaping? What about someone who has experience renovating a wood-frame house versus a concrete-block home? These are the types of questions you should be asking when determining which contractor is for you. Make sure to choose a contractor that is aligned with your specific needs and has the experience needed to do the job well.
- Consider Their Availability
How available is each specific contractor? If the contractor is in high demand, then you’ll likely have to pay more for their services. Another potential roadblock could be that you may have to wait for the contractor to complete other projects before they start on your home renovation. A contractor who is extremely busy may even try to price themselves out of your project with an unusually high bid.
A busy contractor is generally busy for a reason—their services are likely top of the line and may be worth the wait for your project. However, if you need someone who can start work on your project right away, then you’ll need to find a contractor with more availability.
- Make Sure Contractor is Licensed and Insured
To avoid being ripped off, scammed or sued, it is crucial that you check to make sure a contractor is licensed and insured. Without proper insurance, you could be liable if a subcontractor or worker becomes injured while on the job. In addition to bodily harm or injury, a contractor’s insurance should cover property damage.
Unfortunately, there are contractors out there who claim to be licensed and insured when they are not. To ensure that you are hiring a reputable and licensed contractor, be sure to ask for a contractor’s credentials during the interview process. Check with your state and local government to confirm that the contractor meets all licensing requirements.
- Take Note of Their Communication Style
When interviewing a contractor, take note of their communication style. In other words: pay attention to their preferred methods when they communicate with you. Is it mostly by phone and text or does the contractor prefer to email? Are they slow to respond or do they reply quickly to all inquiries? If you need someone who gets back to you quickly, then don’t hire a contractor who is largely unresponsive via phone and email.
If you prefer to talk in-person, then be sure the contractor is available for meetings in that format. In addition to the ways in which a contractor communicates with clients, be aware of their specific style of communication. Are they assertive or passive? Home renovations can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, so it’s important that you communicate well with your contractor and feel at ease with them as well.
- Check for Reviews and References
Be sure to check a contractor’s reviews. Taking the time to research each residential general contractor in Indianapolis will put you in the best position to find the perfect one for your project. Read through all the reviews you can find and see what you learn about each contractor.
- Meet their Team
You’ll be interacting and dealing with the contractor’s team and subcontractors on a regular basis. When interviewing a contractor, make sure to ask who they use for certain renovation projects. You’ll want to do the same due diligence with your subcontractors as you do with your contractor.
Be sure to also ask about the contractor’s management style. For instance, do they personally oversee every aspect of the renovation in-person? How much time do they spend overseeing and managing the subcontractors? Do they conduct a background check for all subcontractors?
Taking initiative when it comes to working with your team of contractors and subcontractors is essential to the success of your project. Be diligent and thorough with your questions on the front end to reap the benefits of your research from the results of your project!
Ready to Take on Your Home Renovation Project?
At White Oak Construction, we have over four decades of experience handling home renovation projects across the Indianapolis area and beyond. Our projects are built upon a foundation of trust, communication and your specific ideas. If you’re ready to take on your home renovation project, contact us today to learn more about our process and get a free estimate!