HOW TO HIRE A CONTRACTOR

 
_The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them_.png

We have worked with hundreds of homeowners over the years, people who have just purchased a home and families who have lived in one house for generations. Every project we complete is unique because the vision belongs to the customer: we simply design and build it for them.

Even though every completed project is different, there is one requirement every one of our clients shares: they need to trust us.  For our long-time customers, trust was earned on the first project. More projects naturally followed over the years. For example, one family started with outdoor landscaping and then requested a home addition and most recently a bathroom renovation.  For the new homeowner, or someone looking for a new contractor, the process of figuring out who to hire can be daunting.

Sometimes my out of town family ask me for advice choosing a contractor for their renovation. I tell them the main idea is to establish trust if possible, from day one. How do you do that?

As Ernest Hemingway so eloquently stated, the best way to find out if you can trust a person is to trust them. To me this means that homeowners should give a new company the opportunity to earn their trust.

  • In your initial phone call or email exchange, ask questions that require honest answers, such as “do you have experience building the kind of project I have in mind?”, or “does your business have a physical location?”, “where have you worked in the past?”

  • Note the answers and then follow through on them if you are considering hiring the contractor.

  •   Ask for photos and examples of the company’s past work. Ask for their address if it’s not on the estimate they provide, and if they have offered references, do contact those past clients and learn more about their experience with this contractor. Crazy as it sounds, only about 5% of customers actually ask for references!

  • Prior to your in-person meeting with potential contractors, prepare a list of things you want to discuss. Tell them as much as you can about your project. Contractors love it when clients have gathered their ideas and have a rough budget in mind, up front.

  • Make sure you allocate at least an hour of time for your initial meeting. Homeowners are so busy nowadays that they often don’t ask enough questions and seem very rushed in this all-important meeting. When you create the time and “mental space” needed for this meeting, you will get a more accurate feeling whether a potential working relationship is possible.

  • Knowing the rough budget is essential for a contractor to prepare a quote, so they can choose the most suitable, best priced materials. You want to give them the opportunity to prove that your trust in them is well founded. This is an ideal time to learn how they manage their budget.

  • Contractors expect you to get 3 quotes for your project. This means their estimates are going to be realistic, not inflated.

  • If the contractor tells you your project can be completed under budget, then wouldn’t it be great have the choice to add some extra work or receive a reduction in total cost? That kind of honesty is hard to come by nowadays when “business is business” and “people are people”. If you find honesty and trustworthiness, then you’ve found the right contractor.

To sum it up, you have to give trust to get trust.

Try it for yourself. Develop a life-long relationship with a contractor who can build your vision.