You’ve made the decision to renovate, you have a general budget in mind, and now you have to find the right person to collaborate with and execute your hopeful plan. So how do you find the right contractor?
Let me say right off the bat that I am a huge fan of interviewing prospects. I see great value in meeting with at LEAST 3-4 different candidates when treading into any unfamiliar territory. Why? First, you learn more about your wants and needs after each interview. You learn more about the process by listening to different perspectives. You start to glean a real sense of average costs when getting quotes from a handful of prospects. Lastly, you give yourself a chance to see with whom you really connect. In order to find the right connection, I found myself exploring quite a few different routes:
· Family & Friends. Recommendations are always fantastic. It certainly helps to know that a contractor showed up on time, managed a project well and saw a renovation through from beginning to end.
· Buyers or sellers who have renovated. If you know someone (perhaps a neighbor or even a real estate agent) who has gone through a recent renovation, see who they worked with and how the project went.
· Your management company or super. An excellent resource when it comes to contractors. They’ve likely seen many workmen come through your building and can let you know who has been a problem and who has been great at what they do.
· Angie’s List. https://my.angieslist.com/ A great source for recommendations. I found myself browsing through this site and reading an awful lot of feedback on local candidates. Angie’s List has a great rating system that ranks businesses from A to F.
· Home Advisor. http://www.homeadvisor.com Another site that is similar to Angie’s List. Again, they list many home improvement pros with recommendations/feedback. My only warning with this site is that if you fill out your information for free, they do pass it on directly to prospects who end up calling and emailing you.
· StreetEasy – I found it helpful to look through StreetEasy’s conversation threads. You can do an easy search by topic in their ‘talk’ section and get some good feedback on people’s experiences and contractor choices.
Do your homework in deciding whom to bring in to interview. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, it’s always helpful to check sites like the Better Business Bureau and Yelp just to make sure there aren’t any outstanding issues with your candidates. Once you’ve chosen your select few, you’re onto scheduling interviews and prepping for the questions you want answered. Stay tuned for a list of the best questions to ask contractors in my upcoming episode!
(On a side note, some people choose to hire a designer first to get a clearer vision of what they’re hoping to achieve. I happened to find a designer/contractor team --- but more on that as I go through the experience!)
(Song - Pamgaea by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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