In at least one sense, contractors are exactly like Realtors. They are both afraid to go to social gatherings. Everyone wants to corner them and share hideous stories about what happened to them when they used so and so Realtor or so and so contractor. The answer, of course, is that most Realtors, as well as most contractors, are good people. They get the job done, without ruining lives in the process.
As with anything in life, problems can be avoided by planning ahead and choosing wisely. If you are considering using the services of a contractor, do your homework first:
- Know, exactly, what you want. It’s not the contractor’s job to second-guess your needs. Be as specific as possible. In some cases, use the services of an architect first.
2. Consider your options regarding materials. Options can be unlimited, and so can cost.
3. Consider time frame. An exterior job in winter will take longer than an exterior job in summer.
4. Talk to several contractors only if each contractor is addressing the exact same job specs. Otherwise, as the old saying goes, you will be comparing apples and oranges.
5. Get references. Talk to those people. Go see several projects the contractor has completed.
6. Sign a detailed contract that covers as much as possible.
7. If a contractor tells you that one of your ideas might not be advisable, there is probably a good reason why.
8. Be around a lot when the work is being done. Don’t get in the contractor’s way, but don’t assume you can disappear for days or weeks and everything will just go on.
You are going to spend a lot of time assuring yourself that the contractor you choose is as good as possible. Your job, then, is to be as good a client as possible.