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How to Choose a General Contractor

Tips for Choosing a Good Contractor

When it comes to renovating your home in the Chicago Northshore area, it can be hard to find an experienced general contractor you can trust. After all, this contractor will be in your house for several days, weeks, or even months while they complete your home renovation project. Choosing the wrong contractor can lead to legal and financial problems, work delays, and subpar work. Read on for four tips for choosing the right general contractor, and contact American Home Maintenance today!

Get Recommendations

First, contact your family and friends and ask them for recommendations of contractors in the area. You can usually depend on the people in your personal network to give you an honest assessment. Knowing that a contractor has successfully done what they say they can do for you — and that they completed their work with professionalism — establishes a level of trust between you and the contractor who will be working in your home. Bonus points if you know any building inspectors or other industry professionals who have worked with the contractor themselves.

Do Phone Interviews

It’s wise to speak with four or five different contractors over the phone before you decide to move forward. These don’t have to be lengthy interviews, just make a quick call to each and ask them a few standard questions. You can ask them whether they have worked on similar projects in the past, and ask them for references that will back up their work. You can also ask them how many projects they will be working on at the same time to get an idea of what their bandwidth will be when you want your project completed. Don’t forget to listen to your gut! These initial calls are a great way to gauge the personality and professionalism of each contractor.

Make Plans and Get Bids

Once you have a list of contractors with whom you feel comfortable working, start drafting more cohesive plans for your project. Come up with a solid outline of what you want completed and what is most important to you, and then call your favorite contractors from the interview rounds again. For every call that goes well, set a meeting and sit down with the contractors one-by-one. Get a detailed cost and project completion estimate from each contractor. Be sure to ask for important details like blueprints, the cost of materials, profit margins, labor costs, and miscellaneous expenses that you could incur during your project.

Set a Payment Schedule

No matter the nature of your home project, It’s important to set a payment schedule with your contractor before any papers are signed or any work is completed. Payment schedules will give you a clue about the contractor’s work ethics and financial status. If they ask you for half the payment upfront, it may mean that they have financial problems or are worried that you will not want to pay the full amount after you see the results of their work. Usually, you can pay around 10% upfront, and the rest of the payments can be evenly spaced out throughout the duration of the job.

Hiring a contractor is definitely better than attempting to do a DIY job. However, hiring the right contractor can make or break your project. It is always better to err on the side of caution before you hire a general contractor for your home, so don’t rush the process. Follow the four tips above to find a great contractor for your home repairs, remodels, and renovations, and contact American Home Maintenance to speak with an experienced luxury home contractor in Chicago’s North Shore.