How to Avoid Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Contractor

Contractor Selection

Common Mistakes When Hiring a Contractor

There have been many occasions where a customer has asked us to correct an issue which came from a previous home improvement project. In most of these cases the issue came about because of a misunderstanding between the customer and the previous contractor. Sometimes these are expensive problems to solve. In worst case scenarios we've had to completely re-do the entire remodeling project. That could be really expensive if we're talking about a project such as a bathroom remodeling project.

So, what are some of the problems that we have seen and how can you avoid some of these expensive situations?

  1. People may hire a contractor based solely on price. While it is desirable to get the lowest price for a project, there is a lot of truth in the old saying that "you get what you pay for". Low price contractors may cut the bid to the minimum and try to make up for their lost profit through the use of inferior materials and substandard workmanship. Reputable contractors will always bid an honest price for a job particularly when they are proud of their company's reputation for quality and customer satisfaction.

  2. The weekend warriors believed that they could do the work themselves, found out that it wasn't as easy as they thought and were desperate to hire anyone to get the job done. More often than not a simple project is always more difficult than first imagined, particularly if you don't have any experience or skills needed to complete the project. This will sometimes result in a project that's started by people who don't know any better and then need professional contractors to come in to finish the project.

  3. Customers sometimes do not perform due diligence. A lot of times people just get lazy. Before selecting a contractor perform the necessary background checks of the company that you're about to hire. Check references and credibility. Find out how long the company has been in business. Find out if they are licensed and bonded. Read online reviews, all of them and get a good feel for their reputation in the area.

  4. Put the contract in writing. Do not depend upon verbal contracts! Details get forgotten or misunderstood between the customer and the contractor.

  5. Customers don't always read the contract. Make sure that you read and understand the contract. If there is anything that you don't understand or doesn't make sense, ask. Always make sure that you and the contractor have the same understanding about the amount and scope of work to be performed.

  6. Be clear about payment terms. Have the contract clearly state the payment terms. Negotiate a smaller up front payment with companies who are new to the area or business with higher percentage payments towards the end of the project.

  7. Sometimes customers just trust the contractor knows what they are doing.  But then permits aren't pulled properly or nothing passes inspection. Avoid this situation through strong due diligence. See #3 above! This is the best way to avoid costly contractor hiring mistakes.