A home improvement contractor is perhaps one of the most important people in the remodeling of your home. This is because even though the architect designs your dream house extension or makeover on paper, the home improvement contractor is the one who has to actually bring those sketches to life and he is the one who you can hold responsible for the execution details of your home improvement.
Whether you are adding a new level to your home, adding a sun room or just tearing the entire thing down and rebuilding from scratch, your home improvement contractor is a key person in the entire process.
Therefore, it is very important to pre-screen your home improvement contractor. Ask your architect for referrals as he may have worked with some home improvement contractors in the past and may give some stellar references. However, even then do your own interview and ask the home improvement contractor these questions:
Licensed and Insured?
Make sure that the home improvement contractor is insured so in case something happens to the property or to any person involved in the project, he has insurance that will cover it. Also make sure he is licensed in the state he practices in so that he is aware of all the codes and laws related to adding or remodeling homes. You have to abide with certain guidelines by the city and state where you live; you just can't add a room or a garage without permission and approval of plans.
Experience and Portfolio
Ask the home improvement contractor about his experience in the particular field of home improvement that you desire. In case if it is finishing a basement or adding a sun room, ask for before and after pictures and ask any questions you feel necessary. After all your hard earned money and the safety and stability of your home's foundation is at stake. You are entitled to ask questions and get detailed answers before you sign on with a home improvement contractor.
Another important yet most overlooked part, their working method. Now most contractors stick to traditional methods, though in the past it would have worked, in current conditions it might not work. Due to the recent pandemic even the way we approach our construction projects need to change. Technology is progressing everyday to solve for such challenges, take Yovza for example. A web based platform that allows contractor to manage their projects remotely and collaborate with all the stakeholders in the project on one platform. This saves their time in decision making and also provides real time update of the project. By digitising the workflow it saves their time and efforts that they would usually lose in traditional methods. In current times every penny counts which means that in a project, the margin of error is low. So make sure they are updated and if not then it is your job to make them aware of such new practices.
Find out of the home improvement contractor charges by the projects such as a flat fee for adding a room above the garage or he bills you per hour. Usually, home improvement contractors charge a flat fee but it is always better to get everything in writing especially if something goes wrong.
Ask the home improvement contractor how will any problems be resolved. What if the basement leaks after it is completed or tiles in the bathroom start coming apart? Will he guarantee workmanship for a year or more? Will that over labor and parts? If not, agree on all things before signing the dotted line.