Just OK is NOT OK!
Would you shop around for the cheapest surgeon when you are getting ready to go under the knife? No! You would seek out the best and most experienced doctor available when you are facing important decisions about your health. So, why wouldn’t you seek out the best and most experienced contractor when you are facing important decisions about your home?
Selecting a contractor is very much like selecting a surgeon. The first step is to select the right person for the job, not to make your selection based on the cheapest price. As you would when choosing a surgeon, you would ask friends or family members about their experience and who they would recommend. And just as you should meet and ask questions of your surgeon before going into the operating room, you should meet and ask questions of your potential contractor first.
Thoroughly interview your potential contractor. Ask for references. Call the references. Read online reviews. A personal referral from a friend or family member is the best way to find a qualified person to take on your project. However, price shopping is the worstway to select a qualified contractor!
Allow me to explain…as contractors, our trade is much different than a typical retail service a homeowner may purchase. We offer many products and have many options for constructing or installing those products. This causes some contractors to have higher costs than others.
For example, when you ask three contractors to bid a project, each contractor who looks at the project will have a different method, history, and pre-set idea of how to accomplish the goal. Many times, the ideas of the three contractors will not match. Also, the quality or attention to detail will not match either.
Have you heard the complaint, “the contractor gave me a price to start, then the price doubled by the middle of the project”? If a contractor’s price is much lower than others’ estimates, that is a red flag. Either the contractor was not detailed enough, the scope of work was unclear, he didn’t include everything, or he may be trying to land the job and will then add change orders during the project to continually increase the price.
A good contractor should recommend a 20% contingency surplus with his bid. Every home has hidden secrets and may present additional costs after demo day. However, if a project exceeds 20% in change orders, either the client has added much more work after the initial project begins or the contractor did not perform his due diligence during the proposal phase.
Be aware that many levels of contractors exist. A good contractor will stay in his or her lane and direct clients to the proper help if he or she isn’t the best fit. However, there are many contractors out there who just want the next contract to sign, regardless if the project is the best fit for them or not.
Don’t hire someone who cannot show you projects he or she has done which are similar to what you are seeking. You wouldn’t want to be the first patient for a brain surgeon. Why would you want to be the first for a contractor?
Just OK is NOT OK! You really do get what you pay for. Don’t take chances when it comes to your home.