Finding a professional builder or contractor can be like a game of chess.
Most of the horror stories about a build or renovation are attributable to a less-than-reliable contractor or unrealistic expectations. You can avoid this by doing your homework to find the best professional builder or contractor. This can be challenging, of course, depending on your area. There may be a mind-boggling number of professionals or very few – both present a challenge. Here are a few tips that can help.
Know Where to Look
Imagine how difficult it was to find a contractor before the internet! While some argue that there is too much unreliable information, there are trusted sources you can use.
- COHBA/NAHB – The Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association is a contractor membership organization. You can find members here on our website as well as information about the next Parade of Homes.
- HomeAdvisor – More than 30 million homeowners have used HomeAdvisor to find professionals and read verified reviews; the site has a comprehensive screening process, so you know what you are getting.
As noted, one of the problems that can surface is unrealistic expectations. This happens when communication between the builder and homeowner is less than ideal. Know your project expectations before calling for quotes and outline them carefully, preferably in writing. Be sure your contract is comprehensive and fully outlined rather than being general. You don’t just want the price of the project – you want it to list the square footage, materials to be used, and completion date at the very least. Continue with communication throughout the job.
Just as businesses check employees before hiring, you should do a background check as well. Be sure the builder is insured and that the company is not facing litigation. A contractor should provide you with a certificate of insurance and a copy of his or her license (if licensing is applicable), but you should follow up to be sure. Also, make sure you have this information for any subcontractors they will use.
Take these important steps during selection of your contractor, but also keep an eye on things throughout the project to make sure they are not cutting corners. Look at the materials being used to be sure they match your quote. Attentive customers get the best results, even with the most professional builders.