What to Look For When Hiring a Home Builder: 4 Ways to Ensure You Hire the Right Contractor
By Scotti Ian Ogden
Owner of Ogden Contracting LTD.
Have An Enjoyable Home Building Experience.
Many of my clients have similar stories about previous contractors they’ve hired, unsatisfied with the end product because it was poorly built and exceeded their budget for the project. These sorts of situations leave a bad taste in the mouth about contractors. Not only do contractors have a bad reputation of deceiving their customers with their knowledge or price for the project, they also tend to hide the truth or cover up mistakes without bringing awareness to the customer. Lying to customers is not only wrong but also unsustainable.
4 Ways to Ensure You Hire the Right Contractor
There is a contractor for everything but not all contractors can do everything. There are several factors to look for when hiring the right contractor for the job.
First and most importantly, does this contractor have good communication? The right contractor for the job will not only communicate well, but also communicate at the same level of intellect and respect. Similarly to a marriage, you will be married to a contractor for the duration of the project. If you can’t connect on a high level of communication, then the relationship may be unpleasant. Poor communication can result in a product that doesn’t measure up to your standards. Figuratively speaking, a separation is inevitable, leaving a half-finished job, or worse, a legal dispute where neither party wins. If there is great communication, then you will have an enjoyable home building experience and continually use this contractor for future projects with well established trust.
2. Customer Service Skills
The ideal contractor has active listening skills, respect, understands your needs and is unwilling to cut corners to achieve your goals. Like an employer, I recommend conducting a low-key interview with the contractor, after all, you are considering hiring them. Have a few meetings to discuss your needs and wants. Pay close attention to their personality, you need to ensure you’re hiring someone that prioritizes your needs, opposed to a contractor looking for quick income.
After you’ve interviewed the contractor and you feel it’s a cohesive personality fit, it’s important that you check their references. You should feel comfortable asking your contractor for references and they should be comfortable providing them. Find a reference that relates to the scope of work that you are requesting. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions that affirm the promises the contractor has made.
The Best Questions to Ask the References are:
- “Would you hire this contractor again?”
- “How well was the communication between you and the contractor?”
You can also check the social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin) for the contractors company. Look for testimonials and reviews on Google.
Lastly, I highly recommend double checking the contractors credentials.
- Check any listed credentials on the company’s website
- Call the local city hall to check their business license and years in operation
- You want to ask your contractor for proof of liability insurance and construction insurance
- You also want to ask them for a copy of their procedures on how they hire sub-trades (it’s integral to the success of the project that they also communicate well with the sub-trades).
- If the contractor is a registered home builder, check their builder license number and ensure they are in good standings with the local association.
The Difference Between a Contractor and a Home Builder
- Specializes in the small detail of planning and building a unique project specific for the client
- Spends time researching & developing the best strategies to deliver on a product that exceeds customer expectations
- Builds home, and also works on large scale renovations in both residential
- Focused on the standard style of work (design, groundwork, framing, exterior, interior)
- Must warranty all their work with 2-5-10 Home Warranty Plan
- Specialized in home building, not always familiar with the processes outside of home building
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