Finding a Contractor
Finding a contractor is both an exciting time, but also a nerve racking time. You may choose to delegate this responsibility to your architect (see What Does an Architect Do?) or you may choose to take on the responsibility yourself. Before selecting a contractor, be sure to have complete blueprints and construction documents ready to provide contractors. This helps ensure accurate and comparable bids as you share information regarding the nature and scope of your project.
Most people rely on word of mouth or the Internet to find qualified contractors. If you are working with an architect or an interior designer, they are also able to provide good recommendations. Once you are ready to hire a contractor, use the following sources as a good starting point. Remember, an Expressive Home is a well-built home requiring the selection of quality professionals.
Even if you are not working directly with an architect or interior designer, feel free to reach out to them for recommendations regarding your project. Some are more than happy to provide contacts, others will want to charge a consultation fee.
Word of Mouth
One of the most powerful marketing tools is word of mouth, and most good contractors will have a favorable reputation. Ask friends and neighbors who have had work done which contractors they used and what their experience was. Post an inquiry on Facebook to get input from the community on who the best contractors are. If you see a home or project you like, visit with the homeowner to obtain leads and references. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations at your local building supply store or even a trade specific supplier.
Angie’s List is an important resource for researching local services and is invaluable in finding a contractor. The website covers all kinds of services beyond home construction, but has a wealth of information specific to residential construction. Once you have joined, you will have access to top rated providers in your area. You will also be able to see reviews from other people who have hired contractors. You may even be able to score a discount if the contractor has a promotion running or a previous arrangement with Angie’s List. Be advised there is a small fee with various subscriptions options to use this service.
Thumbtack is a free lead generation service to help you accomplish a multitude of projects. With Thumbtack, you specify basic parameters of the service you require and what your location is. Within 24 hours you should start receiving quotes from professionals in your area. Once the quotes start coming in (either via email or text message) you can begin the vetting process by looking at the company profiles and reviews.
Houzz is a comprehensive home inspiration and décor community, which also provides a portal to connect you with specific construction pros you may be looking to hire. The service is free. You are able to browse an overwhelming collection of design ideas in an extensive and well-organized gallery. After providing your location, you can peruse the portfolios of relevant contractors to help get a taste for their work and narrow down your selection. When joining the Houzz community, you are joining a network for inspiring your projects and bringing the homeowner and professional together.
Contractors have a good feel for the workmanship of other trades in the construction industry. The ability for them to do their work is often dependent on the quality of other contractors working to complete a construction project. If you have a contractor you trust, ask them for recommendations regarding the services of other trades and sub-contractors your project may require. You will be surprised how forthcoming they can be on who is good and who you should avoid.
As with any major purchase, let the buyer beware. Expressive Homes suggests taking recommendations with a grain of salt and trying to identify if any biases or conflicts of interest may exist. Then, do your homework and start the process of putting your project out to bid.