Everything You Need To Know About Hiring A Contractor Part 1 Of 3

Posted by Andrea Bledsoe on March 3rd, 2014 | View comments

Part I: Compile A List Of Contractor Candidates

Know the type of contractor you need.

Before contacting a contractor for your project, it is a good idea to figure out exactly what you want done in your home. What do you want the renovation to look like in the end? It’s important to be able to be specific about what you want done when you meet with a contractor or an architect.

Use these guidelines to match the professional to the project:

  • A general contractor will oversee your entire project. He/she will hire and supervise the subcontractors needed for the project. He will schedule all needed inspections and secure all needed building permits. He will also coordinate with your designers or architects.
  • A specialty contractor will install individual products you order, i.e. kitchen or bathroom fixtures, countertops, cabinets, etc.
  • An architect will design the structural features of your project, such as designing your home, your bath or kitchen remodel, or an addition you want to make to your home. You may want to think about hiring an architect specializing in home improvement if you are making any structural changes to your home.
  • A designer has specific expertise, such as in bathroom or kitchen design.
  • You can also hire a design/build contractor to manage your entire project from the beginning to the end. Some design/build contractor firms use certified designers; others have their own architects as members of their staff.

If you are using the services of an architect, involve your contractor in the design process as well. Having the two of them work together will save you many problems later in the project. Keep in mind that the design of your project is very important. If you don’t have a good, functional design, it won’t matter how good the materials and craftsmanship are.

Conduct a wide search to find suitable candidates.

Contractors are usually hired through referrals, so don’t rely solely on big attractive ads. After checking local contractors' profile pages on TotalHousehold, speak to friends who have done renovations in their homes. Ask around and drive around your neighborhood to see if anyone is having work done on their home. Ask your landscaper, plumber or electrician if he/she knows of any contractors he/she would recommend. Check with your town's building officials for advice on contractors you should not hire. Put together a lengthy list of prospects from which you can start to cull down.

In Part II, you'll read about questions to ask to find the most qualified contractor for your project.