Too often people assume that hiring the smaller, least expensive building company will cost less than a larger company. Does it?
We’ve all heard stories about the little bathroom remodel that turned into a six-month-long ordeal. Far too often, choosing the contractor with the lowest price means that that company has left out important details or aren’t knowledgeable enough about the scope of work. In my 30 years of experience, I’ve learned that expectations are the key to any successful project. An experienced contractor will guide you through the process from inception to completion so that everyone involved has the same expectations. These expectations should include: permitting; a clearly defined scope of work; the level (quality) of the finished work (e.g. millwork, flooring, cabinetry); scheduling; delivery; and items that are not included in the scope of work. If a designer or an architect is not involved in the project, an experienced contractor will often supply mock-ups of the proposed work and/or photos of details and finishes, so that everyone has the same vision and same expectations.
I recommend you get proposals/estimates from three general contractors/building companies. These proposals are just the starting point for hiring a contractor. Review the proposals. They should be detailed and accurately reflect the scope of work. Meet and interview the contractors and learn about the company. The contractor should have questions for you. They should deliver the proposal on time and with a proposed schedule. They should have an extensive knowledge about the scope of work, building codes, and the products they will be using. And of course, they should be licensed and insured. This process will help you select the right company for your job.
Other considerations when hiring a contractor:
• Reputation and Quality
• Resources (sufficient labor, relationships with vendors, locality)
• Communication (response time, email savvy, articulate)
You will discover that a larger, more experienced company will deliver a superior product, meet your expectations because of their experience and efficiency, AND cost you less!