Hiring a Qualified ContractorPlanning a renovation? Whether you’re gutting a commercial building, subdividing retail space, rehabilitating a foreclosure or converting Class B apartments to condominiums, you’ll need to hire a builder or contractor. But before you jump into your project, you need to hire the right contractor. After all, bringing the wrong one onboard can lead to disastrous consequences: cost over-runs, delays and lost revenues. Here are some tips for finding a qualified contractor:
- Get a reference-- Talk to colleagues or friends who might have used a contractor recently.Call your local builders association. You can even ask your county’s building inspector to recommend a qualified firm.
- Check credentials-- Once you’ve narrowed down the field, do your due diligence. Check licenses and insurance, call your local Better Business Bureau to confirm how long each company has been in business and whether complaints have been filed, and contact prior customers. Ask whether the contractor started and finished on time and completed the project on budget. Make sure the company has a solid reputation; you want to be sure it will be around for any warranty work that may need to be done.
- Go see the contractor’s work--both current jobs and completed ones.
- Be wary of unusually low bids.
- Get everything in writing-- both estimates and the contract—no matter how small the job.