How To Find The Right Contractor

When you get the itch to change something about your home, the first question to ask yourself is whether it’s more cost-effective to do it yourself or hire a professional. The answer rests largely on three factors:

1. The type and complexity of the project

2. Your level of skill

3. The time you have available to work on the project

For tile installation, some small areas and rooms can be tiled DIY, but larger rooms bring a larger potential for complications. Therefore, the larger the room and the more intricate the design, the more likely it becomes that you will need professional help.

In this how to guide, we will provide you 11 useful tips that help you find the right contractor for your home renovation project!

1. Know What You Want Before You Get Estimates

You’ll get a much more accurate estimate if you know exactly what you want done and the materials you would like to use to make it happen.

2. Interview at Least 5 Contractors

Ask a lot of questions and get a written proposal with an estimate from each. Here are so good interview questions: 

  • Do they take on projects of your size?
  • Can they give you a list of previous clients?
  • How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
  • How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

3. Ask Friends, Relatives and Co-Workers for References

Keep in mind that someone who did a good job painting your neighbor’s house isn’t necessarily the right person to tile your bathroom. Ask people who have done similar projects.

4. Check References

It is important to talk to the contractor’s previous clients. Don’t be shy! These people were once in your shoes, so they are likely to provide you some useful advice. Ask them if the contractor’s estimate was close to the final cost, if they got along with the contractor and if it’s possible to see closeup photos of any completed work.

5. Check Licenses, Complaints and Litigation History

Although licenses are not required for a tile installation project, it is good to know your contractor is licensed. For a large project such as building an addition to your house, it is better to check your state disciplinary boards, Better Business Bureau and local court records before making an offer to your contractor.

6. Ask About a Payment Schedule

Payment schedules can speak to a contractor’s financial status and work ethic. If they want half the bid up front, they may have financial problems or be worried that you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen the work.

7. Sign a Detailed Contract

Make sure your contract includes everything, such as deadlines, payment schedule, the exact materials that will be used down to the model number and who will provide which materials. Any change in the project, whether you change your mind about products or request additional features, should generate a written change order that includes the new work, materials and cost.

8. Get the Proper Permits

Many contractors will suggest that the job can be done without permits to save money, or they may not even broach the topic. Not only could that violate local ordinances and subject you to fines if you’re caught, it means the work will not be inspected by the city or county to make sure it’s up to code.

9. Set Some Ground Rules

Discuss what hours the contractor can work at your home, what kind of notice you’ll get, what bathroom the workers will use and what will be cleaned up at the end of every workday. It is always better to talk about your house rules ahead of time than bringing them up later.

10. Verify Insurance Coverage 

Know what is covered by your homeowners insurance and what is covered by your contractor’s business insurance. Get a copy of the company’s insurance policy.

11. Don’t Pay More Than 10% of the Total Before the Job Starts

Expensive materials needed early on may require more deposit upfront to cover the cost, but the golden rule is never pay more than 10% before your contractor starts the job.