Who to hire for your construction job can make a big difference on all aspects of the job. Whether your job is small or large it all pertains to money, quality, warranty, reputation, and more.
With the economy in the toilet, more people are getting into construction. They might have another full-time job and trying to pick up extra money by construction jobs. They might have lost their full-time job and starting a new career. Then there are those who have made a career in construction. Regardless, you need to check their references and look at some of their prior jobs. Beware if they ask for all the money up front. In fact, run from this kind of person. Many scams are going on these days. If the job is fairly large, the contractor could ask for a draw up front to get materials. This is fine, if you have done your homework on the contractor. Your full-fledge contractors will give you the details of the job in writing for their protection as well as yours. If a payment schedule is involved, you should receive the breakdown on the draws. Always ask about the warranty they will give you on their work. Too bad TRCC (Texas Residential Construction Commission) does not exist for protecting the homeowners. In the past, a builder would register and then register their jobs with this division. Now, you should get everything in writing up front and at the end.
Would you hire an A/C company to put on a roof? No. Would you hire a plumber to builder a porch? No. Would you hire a contractor to install a new bathtub? Yes, only if they use a licensed plumber for the plumbing work. Would you hire a contractor to remodel a historic building’s porch? Yes, provided they know the rules regarding a historic building. Meaning, know what permits to pull, appropriate paperwork to submit, period materials, and again get licensed subcontractors for electric and plumbing on the job. If the rules are not followed, a historic building can lose its rating. Or if permits aren’t pulled, fines can occur. Most of your full-time contractors will know all these things and provide you the proper guidance. And most full-time contractors will stand behind their work, even if it did go out of warranty a short time ago.
Taking that lowest bid is not always the best thing to do. Get several bids, and always compare apples to apples. Are you getting the same quality of materials? What is the time frame to do the job? What warranties will they provide? Get a signed job estimate. And beware if you go with that lowest bid; have they miscalculated something and will hit you with additional bills or change orders? Hold their feet to the fire. If you change something in the middle of the job, then yes, you will get an additional bill or change order. If they miscalculated, shame on them, let them eat it.
Sometimes, you go with your gut on selecting that contractor. Other times, please check them out. And when you check them out, don’t forget to look at their reputation and honesty. Those who build their business on honesty will prevail. Look at the quality. Is their work still intact after a year? If not, makes me think they are cutting corners, using cheaper materials, or hired folks who don’t know what they are doing. An honest contractor will fix a mistake or poor quality work within a reasonable amount of time. This is what helps build their reputation and business. Pay attention to the details. Look at the projects they have done, the years they have been doing the job, the contracts and paperwork they give you, references, and most important, their communication levels.
Finally, select that contractor based on what you find out from your homework. How they are perceived by their customers, vendors, and even the locals. Get everything in writing – detailed. Get the job specifications, payment schedule, and warranties for your job. Protect yourself.
For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to debbie@vallone realestate.net.