It is sometimes difficult to get a hold of a reliable contractor these days- at the very least someone who is dependable and strives for excellence. With the construction industry becoming more and more competitive, choosing the right people for the job is a challenge for inexperienced clients. We recommend we take more precaution than usual when we pick contractors for our projects. 

Background Checking

Information is easy to come by these days, but the ease in getting information on construction firms can be a mixed bag. The simplest background check one can do is to plow through a company’s website, as well as related review sites, and gauge their reputation from there. More in-depth probing requires checking in with the firm’s recent clients, along with their portfolio and legal background.

Between a decent online presence and local word of mouth, the latter is more reputable to consider. Ask for referrals if you can.

Contracts

Well-written contracts will ensure good outcomes for both the client and the contractors. The more concise the contract, the better. Vague clauses and terms should always be clarified, as they can be used against each other, and no one wants to spend extra for legal advice should the need arise.

Location

The simplest and worst dilemma in finding a contractor often concerns the location you want versus the surrounding area. The farther they are, the longer it will take for your project to finish, and that’s without counting in the travel expenses.

Cost

A couple of discussions concerning estimates and quotations should tell you if the contractor knows how to budget and set realistic expectations. As a client, you will pay for most of the costs concerning the workers and the project, while a responsible contractor will focus on providing the best quality output your money can buy. Look out for those who ask for too much or too cheap. At worst, a low-cost contractor will persuade the client that they are making a good decision with their asking price, but they might have ulterior motives. Likewise, an expensive contractor may guarantee quality, but they might also be banking on the name or track record of their firm and will insist in charging double for a simple job that other contractors can do for half the price. 

Granted, not all contractors operate like this, but it pays to be safe and cautious. Just remember to coordinate with them properly to ensure that money is not wasted.

Capabilities

Find out if the contractor you are looking at is capable of doing the work as fast and efficiently as possible. As mentioned before, check their portfolio and decide if they can handle your particular project within your desired time frame. Assess their reputation, their connections, their attitude towards work, and how they conduct themselves under extreme pressure. Finally, communication is a critical factor that everyone, even clients, should focus on to ensure that everything is going according to plan.

Final Advice

If you are assessing a firm, look for their worst traits first before their positives. It is easy to be swept away by cheap deals and sweet words like “finishing it early”, but ultimately, your decision will affect the amount of time and money you will be investing into them.

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