How to hire the right contractor

How to hire the right contractor

Just this past week, I received an email from a potential client.  This client had reached out to some of my past clients to verify that Country Creek Builders was the correct choice for their remodeling project.   Below is the testimonial that this potential client received.

If you are considering hiring a contractor, it can be a scary process.  There have always been, and always will be – the wrong contractor waiting for your call.   So how do you ensure that you do not get into trouble when you hire a contractor?

I recently visited a homeowners bathroom project that was being remodeled by another local company.  This homeowner called me because they had made the wrong choice in selecting a contractor.  Their bathroom project was started in the middle of September – and six weeks later – the project was ready for sheet rock.  This homeowner was extremely upset with the choice that they had made.   If Country Creek Builders had been hired to remodel their bathroom, we would have been finished at six weeks.

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  REFERENCES:

I asked this homeowner if they had called checked the references of the contractor that they had hired.  The made three calls; because the contractor gave        them three references.   If the contractor that your considering hiring does not provide you with at least 50 references – the first question that you need to ask    yourself is why?

 

 

Here are a few questions that you really need to ask the references that you contact:

  1. Did the project finish on time?
  2. Did the project finish on budget?
  3. How was the quality of the workmanship?
  4. Was the job site kept clean?
  5. How did the contractor handle any problems or issues during the project?
  6. Did the contractor ask for additional money during the project (cost overruns) even though the scope of work did not increase?`
  7. Would you hire the contractor again?
  8. Did the contractor pull the required permits?

You may even want to visit a project or two of past clients to ensure that the contractors quality lives up to your expectations.

ESTIMATES:

You can talk to 10 different contractor, and receive 10 different estimates.   So which contractor do you select?

Most contractor will give you a written estimate, but is it worth the price of the paper that it is printed on?

The first thing you should look for is the details in the estimate.  If you receive and estimate that is short and sweet – it will most likely cause you a bitter taste in your mouth.  The best estimates are the ones that are very detailed.   If the contractor that you are considering hiring is not willing to provide you with a detailed estimate;  Do you really know what is included and what is not?  At Country Creek Builders; We provide a very detailed.  Our normal estimate is 7 plus pages long.  At Country Creek Builders;  We break down the estimate into sections – Permit, Demo Labor, Framing materials, Framing labor, Plumbing materials (fixtures), Plumbing labor, Electrical labor…. etc…  The details in a Country Creek Builders estimate ensures that the homeowner knows exactly what is included in the cost.

The estimate is the start of your project, so please find a contractor that will give you the details up front – it will save you headaches later.  A detailed estimate will keep everyone on the same page.

 

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Here is the letter that this potential client received.

 

Hi Julie,
In short, we had a great experience with Country Creek Builders. We have recommended them to a number of people we know who are planning on doing remodeling, and we would not hesitate to hire them again. In fact, we are planning on remodeling our kitchen in a couple of years and we will hire Country Creek Builders to do the job.  They have earned our trust and respect.

We hired them in 2012 for two projects: finish our basement and update the exterior of our house. Our basement was not finished, so we were starting from scratch. The exterior work consisted of replacing siding on one side due to wood pecker damage, adding stone work to the front of the house, painting the exterior and replacing some landscaping.

We had never worked with a contractor before and were a little nervous about the process.  We talked with Dan and then we talked with another contractor.  Both my husband and I felt comfortable with Dan from the start.  His estimates and project plan were spot on, and he kept us informed throughout the process.  We had a lot of questions and he was very responsive to our phone calls and emails. We went through a few revisions to the plan due to the layout of our basement and how it was configured. Dan had great ideas and suggestions for the basement.

The whole Country Creek Builders team is excellent: very nice, professional, solid workers.  Every day when I came home while they were working on the basement, it felt like it was Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait to see what they had done that day.  Dave (Dan’s son) was usually there and he was always willing to go over what they did that day.  Dave, Kyle, Brittney, and Steve were the primary people working on our two projects, but Dan was also there checking on their work and pitching in. They all take pride in doing a quality job.

We love our finished basement and the updated exterior of our house!  Even 18 months later, there isn’t anything we would’ve changed or done differently. We only we wish we would’ve done it sooner!
We highly recommend Country Creek Builders.
Good luck!
Louise Seigworth
Buy the way – Julie received 12 replies to her requests – and we are starting her project next month.
LICENSES AND INSURANCE
Please make sure that the contractor you about to hire has the correct license.  In the state of Minnesota, the Department of Labor and Industry regulates the license of contractors.
It is very easy for a homeowner to check on a contractors license.
Here is a link to check to see if your contractor has the correct license – and if it is still current:
Take a few minutes to see if your about to hire an unlicensed contractor.
You should also ask the contractor for proof of general liability and workman’s comp insurance.   Any reputable contractor will gladly provide proof of their insurance.
You can also check with the state of Minnesota to verify if your contractor has workman’s comp insurance.
Here is a link to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry:
Keep in mind that your gut instinct is a good gauge on which contractor you should hire.
Good luck  – and happy remodeling!
Dan Drenckhahn
President
Country Creek Builders

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