The time has come for you to pick a contractor and it seems like there are hundreds out there to choose from. Here are out top tips to help you pick the right contractor…
When you start to consider which contractors to use, collect recommendations from sources you trust. Ask colleagues or contacts within other companies for their advice as well as checking reviews online. Ask to view examples of their work and contact previous customers for a realistic view of what they were like to work with. Check whether the work was completed on time and to what standard. Did they meet expectations and were they easy to communicate with? These are all important questions to ask before making your decision.
Check that the company you choose, specialise in your type of project. Pick someone who is knowledgeable in the area and has lots of experience with similar projects. This way they know what they’re doing and what to do if something goes wrong!
Do your checks!
Ask the company a number of questions before committing to anything. Draw up a list of what is important to you and make sure they can accommodate this. Here are a few questions we recommend asking but you should add whatever you feel you need to know before hiring a contractor!
-Have they completed any similar projects and can you see examples of this?
-Can you approach other customers for their opinions on the company?
-Do they undertake projects of your size?
-Can they give examples of similar projects with similar and different budgets (both lower and higher than yours)?
-How many projects will they have going on at the same time? (A good company will have several projects and know how to schedule these around each other)
-Get details of their insurance and make sure they comply with legislation. (You don’t want to be responsible for any accidents due to not checking a simple thing like insurance)
-When can they start? (some companies may have a lot of work on, so check when they can realistically start and when the project will be complete)
-Do they have any qualifications and accreditations?
Pick a contractor who matches your list of requirements and not someone who just adheres to a few.
Make detailed plans
Make clear and concise plans for your project and ask for their opinion. Remember you are hiring them to do a job which they have a vast amount of knowledge in, so accept their advice and opinions. Be very clear in what you expect and what you want the completed project to be. Without clear guidelines, you open yourself up to interpretation and huge differences may occur between what you want and what you get.
Also, be clear about what you expect from the contractor and what they expect from you. Do they need you to clear a room, what will they provide and what will you provide etc. By doing this, you ensure you are both on the same page and no disruptions will occur later down the line from unclear guidelines.
You need to find someone who you feel will work best with you.
Be realistic with your budget.
Set yourself a budget and stick to it, but make sure you allow room in your budget for any contingencies you may need. It is always better to overestimate than underestimate when it comes to your budget. Make your contractor aware of your budget and ask their advice as to whether they believe it is realistic. Some contractors will not be able to work within your budget and then it is time to move on and look for another.
Look for local companies who come with good recommendations. If a company has worked in your local community for a long time and is still working well, there’s a reason for that. It’s often hard to stand the test of time against multi-national organisations who have huge financial backing behind them so those who have are clearly a good choice. Local contractors will be available readily and will know the community. They will have years of experience working in the area and a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to other local companies and suppliers.
Meet them first
It’s always important to meet somebody before you hire them. Go to their offices or meet them on site to get a feel of how they are in their own environment. Choose somebody who you get along with and can communicate with easy. You want to share similar values with them and know that you can trust them with your project.
Don’t feel pressured.
When you meet someone you have to know that they are the right contractor for you. A lot of the time our gut feeling is the right feeling to go with. Don’t feel pressured into using a contractor just because you’ve met them, instead take your time and meet as many people as it takes to find the right company for you. Remember there are plenty of companies out there and it will pay in the long run for you to choose the right one for you.
Create a contract
Create a clear contract before any work is undertaken and ask for your contractor’s opinion. Detail all steps of the projects and when you expect it to be completed. Include details regarding payment, insurance, start date, materials etc. Make sure both you and the contractor fully understand the project moving forward.
Now you’ve picked your contractor, how do you manage them on site? Check the ADC blog next week for our post to help you manage multiple contractors on one building site.