Hiring a contractor for your home

Homeowner Gordon Welt enjoys the deck he had installed over the summer, but he did a lot of work before his deck project ever began. Welt sought bids from five contactors before picking the company he felt was right for the job.

“He was very, very knowledgeable during the estimate and some of the ideas he was coming up with he was able to do the math calculations there,” said Welt. “He didn’t have to go back to a computer. I knew he was experienced and some of the terms he was using were very easily conveyed to me as a customer and being able to get our ideas on paper before he even left to do the estimate.”

Meet all potential contractors face-to-face and prepare a list of questions to ask every contractor you interview specific to your project.

“When interviewing your contractor you want to use some of the same skills you might use when interviewing someone for a job at work,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “You want to ask open–ended questions because you’ll learn a lot more about how they’ll handle situations. One of my favorite questions is to ask them about a job that didn’t go right and how they fixed it.”

It’s also important to ask questions that go beyond the basics of the project. Make sure you have a good rapport with the contractor. That can make communicating easier, especially when it comes to changes or problems in the middle of the job.

“The most important questions homeowners can ask when hiring a contractor is whether they trust their gut instinct,” Hicks said. “Follow your gut instinct when interviewing especially if you’re doing a kitchen remodel because you are going to have this company or contractors in your home for a long time. In fact, they kind of become a part of your family.”

“To me, being involved, it’s just like your car, everything else, it’s an investment. If you’re not involved you don’t have an excuse for the product you get at the end,” Welt said. “So, take the initiative. Be involved and speak up during the whole process and that’s the only way you can get a good product at the end.”

There’s a lot riding on any home improvement project, including time and money, so never hire someone you don’t feel comfortable with. Always treat hiring like building a relationship rather than just carrying out a transaction. It’ll put you more at ease with any decision you make regarding your home.