How to Narrow Down your Contractor Search
After hours of hard work, calling contractors and arranging estimates and meetings, you finally have a list of contractors that you are happy with. The only problem is that you can’t decide between them! Not to worry, as this is a common situation for someone who is looking to hire a contractor and there are a few simple ways to narrow down all the great contractors that you have researched so far. Starting a project is already stressful enough without having to obsess over who will carry out the work and why. After going through all the tips below, there should only be one or two contractors left on your list so that you can ger started right away.
It may seem trivial, but it is really easy to rule out a contractor from your list if you think there is a chance that your personalities might clash. During the time you spent with the contractor showing them what you want your project to be and how long you are hoping everything will take, it is always smart to try and get a feel for their personality. Were they annoyed with you when you asked a question? Did they think your project was a good idea or do they seem uninterested in the work? A contractor who is inspired by your project or at least interested in it will always do a better job than a contractor who is just hoping to get your project over with. Also, a contractor will likely be spending a great deal of time with you, which is why it is so important that you get along. If you already had meetings with contractors and can’t quite pinpoint which one fit your personality best, it is often the contractor that was the most memorable to you that you will get along with.
Give them a Rating
Making a list of pros and cons for each contractor can make it easier to choose between them. For example, a pro would be that you have seen their work and are in love with it, but a con would be that the contractor is much too busy to work on your project at the moment and you’ll have to wait months for the project to get started. Once your lists are complete, try ranking them in order from best pros to worst cons. Once they are in order from best to worst base on the pros and cons, you can usually eliminate at least a couple contractors from the running. Of course, making a list in this way is only helpful if you’ve asked each contractor a number of questions. For example, how many painters would be working on your project and how long will it take to complete the work? Your quote should cover most of the details about cost, but it never hurts to clarify anything that is not clearly written down.
Review Their Past Work
Great contractors are proud of the work they do and often have a portfolio of past projects. By flipping through the before and after photos, you can really get a sense of the contractor’s abilities and style. Also, it gives you a chance to determine if they are the right contractor for your specific project. For example, if you need painters for the interior of your home, but the portfolio only shows exteriors, then you should probably choose a contractor with more experience working on the inside of buildings as they will be more familiar with moving furniture and the other obstacles that come with painting the interior of a building. The number of projects they have completed is also important. If you have a particularly complex project at hand, going with the more experience contractor would be wise.
Talk to Previous Clients
Once you have reviewed past projects, it never hurts to seek out reviews from the clients. This can be done online through websites like Angie’s List, Yelp or the Better Business Bureau. If you are fortunate, you may know someone who has used that particular contractor before and you can have a frank conversation with them about the whole experience. For example, a contractor might have an amazing portfolio on the right kinds of projects, but clients are unhappy with the project not being finished on time. If deadlines are not important to you, then you might still choose the contractor with the best portfolio despite an extra week of work.
When taking all the above features of a contractor into account, the contractor that you should choose becomes crystal clear. By making sure your personalities are a good fit, that they have great skills and that past clients are happy, it would be difficult to go wrong with your chosen contractor. It is also important to keep in mind what your limits are as far as bad reviews, since what is a big deal to some people might be of little consequence to someone else. That is where the pro and con list can really help you make up your mind and get started sooner than ever.