Every homeowner should know how to choose a good contractor. When something needs to be replaced, upgraded, or added on to, you probably want an expert handling the work. But here’s the hard part: good contractors are really hard to find. Plenty of people are probably willing to take the job, but only a rare few will treat you, your project, and your whole home the way you expect. Partner with someone you can trust by following these tips:
- Know your project – Figure out exactly what you want to accomplish before you even start looking for a contractor. That way, when you make a contract you can explain in detail what you want to be done and get an accurate quote for the project. At this early stage, you should also consider whether a contractor is necessary. Many jobs, like hanging cabinet doors in your kitchen or bathroom, are a lot more DIY friendly than you might expect.
- Get a reference – The best contractors come recommended by your friends and family. People you know will give you their honest opinion, and since they’ve seen a contractor’s work first hand, they can give you the information that you won’t find elsewhere. Seek out recommendations within your social circle, but be sure not to base your choice on recommendations alone. Anyone you consider should go through a complete vetting process. Recommendations are only for building up a list of candidates.
- Consider enough options – You might be completely satisfied with the first contractor you find. But instead of jumping at the first option, create a list of at least three candidates. With multiple candidates, you can compare prices, services, schedules, and other factors before deciding objectively who’s the best option. Taking a little extra time to select carefully is always preferable to rushing into a project with the wrong contractor.
- Expect a delay – Logically, the best contractors in your area are also the busiest. Don’t be surprised if the contractors you most want to hire can’t fit you in for at least a few months. At that point, you need to decide whether you can wait or whether it’s more important to find a quality contractor who can start immediately. Remember, home improvement projects usually hit setbacks, so don’t expect everything to go exactly as planned. Instead, be prepared to adapt.
- Pick the right professional – Someone who laid tile in your bathroom probably isn’t qualified to fully renovate your kitchen. Similarly, someone who calls themselves a general contractor doesn’t necessarily have the skills to tackle every job. Make sure whoever you hire has the right experience and expertise. You want the job done perfectly, not adequately.
- Look into their background – Some of the best advice for how to choose a good contractor is to ignore their sales pitch. Every contractor will tell you they’re the best of the best, but you need proof. Ask for copies of their license, check whether complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau, and look into their litigation history. You should also ask for references. Any contractor who isn’t eager to connect you with satisfied customers isn’t worth hiring.
- Read online reviews – The internet makes it easier than ever to find information, including customer reviews, about every contractor in your area. Check how many reviews there are to get a sense of how much experience the contractors have. Then read through some or all the reviews to get people’s unvarnished opinions, keeping in mind that reviewers may lie.
- Sign a contract – Good contractors want to spell everything out in writing and conduct all their business above board. Before any work is done, sign a contract describing in detail exactly what the project entails, what schedule it will follow, how much you will pay, and what responsibilities the contractor has to you. If anything goes sideways, the contract ensures you can hold the contractor responsible.
- Limit your down payment – Most contractors require some kind of down payment. Don’t pay more than 10% of the total project cost. Otherwise, you could be bankrolling the contractor while he finishes another job. When projects require expensive materials the down payment can be as high as 30%, but these instances are rare. Contractors raise a lot of red flags if they insist on getting a lot of money upfront.
- Get on the same page – Before the project kicks off, make sure you and your contractor are on the same page about everything. Confirm exactly when the contract will be around, work out how often you will communicate and through what channels, and inform them of any special requests. Ideally, you go into day one of the project feeling confident about everything.
Good contractors need good materials
How to choose a good contractor is an important question to ask, but you should also be thinking about how to select the right materials. Many contractors will help you formalize a design, but the details and final choices are ultimately up to you. So how do you ensure you’re choosing the right materials to install in your home?
If you’re searching for cabinet doors, work with The Door Stop. We have a massive selection of doors in all styles, sizes, and finish options. Find the doors you’ve always dreamed of and give them to your contractor to install – or consider installing them yourself. Honestly, it doesn’t take an expert or even someone with experience to hang doors the right way.
No matter what you choose to do, make sure you’re using the best doors available. If you have any questions, consult our FAQ section or feel free to call us at 800-342-1010 and we’ll be happy to provide you with the answers.