Are You Hiring a Contractor for a Major Home Repair Project?
Job Description: Remove and replace house siding on the west, front, and garage side of the residence. Old siding is to be replaced with a six inch cement board, after first wrapping the house in insulated house wrap. Paint all new siding, new corners, soffit and fascia on sides where siding was replaced. Reframe all garage doors in maintenance free white composite two by fours. Repair of any rotted or damaged areas. Paint all parts of house that are newly installed or repaired.
Amount due at the start of the project: $10,000
Balance due upon completion: $10,940
Choosing a contractor is never easy, especially when the repairs and work involve large amounts of money. A construction project can be messy, time consuming, and inconvenient. Even repairs to the outside of a house involve a complete disruption to the home owner. Cars must sit outside, or risk being stuck in the garage while crews complete work with difficult to move ladders and scaffolding. Construction sites often involve large dumpsters and bulky materials crowding a driveway or back yard. Experienced general contractors, however, can complete quality jobs quickly and skillfully.
What to Consider When Choosing a Contractor
- Schedule. Let’s face it. The best contractors are very busy. A contractor that comes highly recommended may be the most difficult to schedule. In order to keep their employees busy, contractors have to bid and schedule jobs many months in advance. In addition to unexpected delays on any given job site, construction crews often deal with weather delays as well. while it might be possible, for example, to complete the indoor parts of heating and cooling service projects, heavy rains and extreme weather conditions can delay the outdoor parts of the job. Missed days on one job site filter out to additional delays for upcoming customers.
Additionally, many home owners want to schedule the work to be completed at a certain time. The home owner may want to be home, for instance, when new cabinets are installed int he kitchen. That same home owner, however, may intentionally schedule the wood floor sanding and staining to be done when the family is out of town. Coordinating the schedule of the workers with the schedule of the home owner can be one of the most difficult parts of choosing a contractor.
- Price. It is important to get several bids when choosing a contractor for home repair, remodeling, and improvement projects. It is also important, however, to make sure that the bids are offering comparable services and products. For example, a heating and air conditioning bid by a large HVAC company may include the installation of high-efficiency air conditioners and other improvements that will keep a home cool while at the same time reducing energy use for air conditioning by as much as 20% to 50%. A lesser known contractor may, on the other hand, submit a less expensive bid, but may be planning to install a lower quality air conditioner that is less energy efficient. The higher bid may seem unreasonable, but may actually end up saving the home owner money in the long run.
- References. You would rarely go to a dentist or a doctor who had not been recommended to you by trusted family members, friends, or co-workers. It does not make sense then to hire a contractor without first getting references. For some, the best way to get references is to closely observe what is going on in the neighborhood. Other home owners who are having their siding replaced, for example, may provide the most reliable references for contractors. Simply watching how a construction crew works and how well they clean up the site at the end of the day can serve as a reference as well.
It should come as no surprise that many home repair projects are expensive. For instance, air conditioners cost American home owners $11 billion each year when the regular maintenance to keep the unit running efficiently is included. Like the purchase of a home, repair and remodeling projects are an investment in the value of the home. To make sure you are hiring the best contractors for the job, it is important to consider schedule, price, and references.