Gather ideas from other completed projects in magazines, online, catalogs: Search online for the styles and interior finishes that interest you. Have a good visual for the look and feel you wish to achieve with your home renovation project before you begin to think about hiring a pro. This helps facilitate the communication process between you and service professionals during the bidding process and allows for a much clearer understanding of the project to obtain accurate and comparable prices from pro’s.
Plan your budget realistically: Set a budget number for the project that you can afford, allows allot for an additional 10% to 20% for overbudgeting due to unforeseen circumstances that can happen when dealing with invasive home renovation projects where some of the renovation work entails removing a wall or excavation of earth, you just never can tell exactly what you may run into to that could prove costly. A good idea to prepare for these situations is to ask your contractor upfront what are all the surprises and costs you may come across during this project, a seasoned contractor should be able to explain all the possibilities and price points to expect.
List your nonnegotiable items, list your negotiable items: Make a list of your end goals for the remodeling project to give to your contractor that can help guide the project. Some items that exceed your budget now, may be added later when financial means allow if you have the contractor make the preparations for it. This could be something as subtle as extra bracing behind a new wall to allow for heavy shelving down the road to anchor to, it’ll save time in the future and make for a better safer job.
Receive bids from reputable contractors from U-bidit: Have professional service providers bid on your project or even better yet accept your initial price offering with your job posting. We strongly encourage you to discuss your scope of work and end goals with the possible service provider through our instant messenger facility. Send photos of your project to further give the contractor a better understanding what he /she will be working with, such as terrain of the yard if you’re having a pool installed or current bathroom photos if you’re looking to have a makeover. Review this information first with any possible service provider you may be thinking of hiring, and only select a service provider you are comfortable working with.
In Person Meeting with potential contractor: Great, you hired the right pro from, now it’s time for you schedule a time to meet to go over all the details of the project. Now you’re ready to talk business with the contractor in person. When you meet, ask yourself if they showed up on time, were easy to communicate with, and were respectful of your questions. You should never feel talked down to or like you’re putting a contractor out for asking these questions. It’s an equal business relationship and you have the right to know how this will go.
Who will be working in your home? Is it a one-man band or a larger construction company, many larger companies operate under a general contractor, who serve as the business head and hire foreman to run projects. Ask to meet the project manager/foreman and make sure it’s someone you want at your house each day.
Check credentials before signing a binding contract with a service provider: Do not sign any contract until you are further researching your hired service professional, check to ensure they’re license is current and active with your state. Although we check all service provider’s credentials before they can join our site, we always recommend to do your own diligence for validity of licensing and or registration, current insurance coverage and worker’s compensation.
Workers compensation: Is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured during employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employees right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence. If an employee gets hurt while being on your property without proper worker’s comp coverage, you could be sued for punitive damages.
Bonded: This is an additional layer of protection for the consumer to have when hiring the right contractor. It is not enforced in each state, the good contractors have it to show good faith to home owners. Being bonded protects the home owner if the contractor bails on the work, doesn’t pay for permits, or fails to pay workers. familiarize yourself by checking with your state laws at your State Consumer Protection office.
Check service pro’s past work: Ask to see the service providers past work to get a better idea of the quality of their workmanship, ask for references of the jobs so you can speak directly with past customers of theirs. It’s always nice to know how a contractor handled himself during a communication problem or even a simple disagreement. Did they lose their cool quickly or did they resolve the problem amicably and move forward without ill will?
How clean do they work? Do they clean up at the end of each day? Will they haul off garbage and debris or leave unsightly black trash bags stacked on the side of your home for children to get hurt on? If they’re working inside, ask how they’ll guard against dust traveling to other areas of the home or how they’ll protect your hardwood floors from damage. Here’s a suggestion, mention to the service pro if they are going to use zip walls to contain any harmful dust from entering the other finished areas of the house. Ask them to tape or turn off any air return registers in the work areas to keep dust from entering the Ductwork system and eventually throughout the house. Ask them to install carpet runners and throw rugs over all traffic areas to prevent damage, take before and after pictures of traffic areas. It’s best to talk about all this upfront and absolutely have it written in the contract.
What permits would my project need and will you obtain them for the included price? Permits mean the work will be performed up to code, A local code enforcement officer will make periodic trips to the job to perform inspections. In the future, should something happen, your homeowner’s insurance will cover it if everything is up to par. If a contractor isn’t willing to obtain permits, it may be a sign they’re not licensed or going to cut corners?
Review your contract thoroughly before signing: Once you have awarded the job to a service professional on our site, the rest of the process is entirely up to you and handled outside of our platform. Always make sure that everything you and the potential service provider discussed are reflected in the contract before you sign. That should include scope of work, with any possible clauses clearly outlined, for example: when a pool contractor is excavating for a new pool, they may encounter bedrock that requires much more invasive work and labor time to remove. Therefore, the contractor should clearly have written a clause for this and costs in your contract for such a situation. All materials to be used should be clearly written in your contract to avoid any confusion, and note who is responsible for supplying it (you or the contractor).
Have a definitive end date in writing along with hours worked each day, so you know how to decide on letting them inside every day and, ask if they leave for lunch. Often home owners must leave for work every day, so the last thing you need is your home unattended while their workers are out to lunch. Sometimes it’s best for a family member or trusted neighbor to let them in and lock up when they leave at the end of the day, if you are unable to do so.
The final part of the contract should clearly state payment structuring, which never should ask for any more than 10% to 30% down to start the project. It is always in the best interest of the home owner to have multiple payment points due upon completion of smaller phases throughout the project, which again should always be addressed in the contract so both parties an understanding when payments are due. Remember a good contractor doesn’t like to have to beg for a payment when it’s clearly due, it shows him you still have trust issues and can make for a rocky relationship throughout the project. Use your gut and common sense here, if you see things are progressing smoothly like they should with quality workmanship payments rendered when expected will perpetuate the continued workflow of your project.
Now you have done all your homework and are comfortable with your service provider, however it’s always best to have a clear provision set forth in the contract if a dispute would arise to allow for quick resolve.
Make sure there are provisions for dispute resolutions that are clearly understood by both parties:
*Keep all paperwork related to your job: This includes, contract(s), any written changes, all bills and invoices, receipts of payments and all correspondences with your contractor, and include photos of the job in progress.