Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hiring Help-What you should know

I have questions all the time from clients wondering how to hire a contractor or subcontractor for their latest renovation project.  Here are some of my tips so you don't end up like this:

trash found in wall

...with trash cups found in your walls 7+ years after the house was built!  No, I really did not put that's been sitting in there since the house was built and I found it when re-doing my fireplace surround.  (This is not the first bit of trash I've found either, there were some beer cans in the air ducts too!)  If you're confused looking at the photo, the black at the bottom is the top of my fireplace and the wood is the studs that the drywall is attached to.  I took it out and replaced it to tile around the fireplace.

So how do you prevent this and find a good contractor to do your work?

1.  Get bids from 3-4 different contractors.  Make sure that when you look at the bids you're comparing apples to apples.  (Sometimes they will substitute in a lesser quality product than what you'd like to cut costs.)  Sometimes the best isn't always cheapest.  I usually look for a bid that is not the highest or lowest, but somewhere in the middle.

2. Ask to see pictures of their completed projects.  Look for good quality work and pleasing design.

3. Ask if you can visit the site of a project they are currently working on.  What you're looking for is how organized and clean the job site is.  (Yes, construction and remodeling of any kind will be messy and dusty, but what you're looking for is organization.)  Is there lots of trash lying around or are they cleaning up after themselves.  If they are not, then they won't when they finish and you will end up with trash where you don't want it!  If it's not possible to visit, see if you can call the owner of the current project to ask them about how clean and organized they are.

4. Make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured.  That way if something happens down the road they can come and fix the mistake without additional cost to you!

I hope these tips helped!  If you have any other questions, stories of your own, or additional suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments below and I'll answer them!


1 comment:

stacey @ tree, root and twig said...

That picture is unreal! I wonder what's in my walls? (I don't think I want to know...) :)