If you find yourself with a construction project that needs doing, you might be wondering when you should hire a contractor. This can be difficult to know since different types of projects will have different needs. If you’re a property manager or landlord with an angry or persistent tenant, the answer might be “yesterday.” But if you’re a homeowner looking to make upgrades or non-essential improvements, you’ve got time on your side.
In any of these situations, there are 3 main tasks you will need to add to your to-do list before you hire a contractor.
Determine when the work must be completed
Is this an emergency or a wish list project? Emergencies obviously require repairs today, while wish list items can wait. In any event, determine when the work should be completed. If it’s an emergency, you’ll need to move through these steps quickly. But if it’s a wish list project, determine which season would be best to have this work completed.
You’ll also want to be mindful of the construction industry’s busy seasons. The summer season is when many large projects are typically taking place because the lack of rain makes it easier complete a large amount of work in a short amount of time.
Contractors who can get large jobs scheduled are likely to do so in the summer. Large jobs are more difficult to schedule in the spring, fall and winter seasons, so smaller jobs such as leak investigations or interior repairs are more likely to be scheduled during this time.
Determine your budget and scope of work
This is pretty straightforward advice and probably the single most important item on your to-do list before hiring a contractor.
Before a contractor starts demolition on a property or making repairs, they need to have a plan for the work to be done. This is commonly referred to as a bid or an estimate and is where these two items come into play. A bid clearly outlines the work that the client (you) would like to see completed and lets you know how much the contractor expects to be paid for that work. Without a clearly defined scope of work or a budget on your end, you’re likely to overspend and not get what you thought you paid for.
Do your research
Before starting a job, most contractors will submit a formal bid or estimate based on the scope of work and budget you’ve provided them. A good one will work with you and educate you on the price of materials and type of work you’re asking for to make sure you understand why they can or cannot do a certain type of work for the price you’re asking.
When doing your research, make sure you solicit bids from at least 3 different contractors. This will give you a range of price points to choose from, as well as introduce you to a few of the types of contractors you’re likely to encounter. You’ll learn a lot about the values, attitudes, professionalism and knowledge of the contractors while discussing or negotiating their bids with them.
If you don’t know where to start looking for a professional contractor, try the Better Business Bureau.
If you’ve already accomplished these three to-do items, give Classic Construction a call…we provide free estimates and we can do it all on time and on budget.