In preparation for hosting holiday parties and with hopes of additional tax credits, many Arizona homeowners will rush to remodel their homes before the end of the year. Regardless of if you are doing a rush remodel job or planning for a longer-term project, it is vital that you choose a general contractor wisely so that the project is done right the first time.
You’ve heard the horror stories — a homeowner thinks he can save money by hiring a contractor who isn’t licensed, or he hires the contractor who gave him the cheapest bid without doing any research into the company and its history.
When homeowners rush to hire a general contractor without asking the right questions or doing their homework, they frequently find that the job has to be re-done due to poor construction or that the project goes way over budget and over time. At The Modern Group, we are frequently brought in to fix jobs done wrong by other general contractors, and it’s always a hard lesson learned by our clients.
We’ve come up with a few tips to help you choose the right general contractor for your home renovation project the first time around; they include:
1. Check out the contractor’s track record. A good contractor will open up his book of business to you and allow you to pick any client to call for a reference. Also, find out if the contractor has a brick-and-mortar office location, then go and visit the office — it will tell you a lot about the business. If the general contractor is a “trunk slammer” (meaning he doesn’t have an office at all), you should definitely do more digging if you are really interested in hiring him. By not having an actual office, the contractor essentially has no roots and may be hard to track down if something goes wrong.
2. Confirm that the general contractor has a supervisor on the job at all times. It is vital to have someone overseeing the project and the sub-contractors for every task; this is not a place to skimp and save money. Any good general contractor will insist on having a supervisor on the job the entire time. Also, ask how big the general contractor’s staff is and how they find sub-contractors. We’ve frequently seen situations where a client is unhappy with the fact that the contractor has taken twice as long to finish the job than originally promised. Most of the time this happens because the general contractor does not have the manpower to get the job done.
3. Make sure the general contractor has knowledge of the project. You can use the Web to find out the basics about what you will be having done to your home, then ask questions that the contractor would have to know about that specific job.
4. A good contractor will give you a bid with ALL of the details, from the smallest items to the biggest-ticket items. You should never agree to hire a contractor when you have questions about what is actually included in the job. That may mean that you get a five-page bid from a good contractor, but it will be worth it to know all of the possible costs up front then to be surprised later.
5. Most importantly, hire a licensed contractor. It is easy to think you can skimp and save money on the contractors who don’t have a license, but that means that your work is not guaranteed and definitely not insured. You can easily search on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (www.azroc.gov) to see if the contractor who you are considering hiring is registered.
For more information and tips for choosing a general contractor, visit www.moderngroupaz.com or call (480) 596-1100.