If you’ve never chosen a contractor before – or if you’ve had bad experiences in the past – knowing which way to turn can be the single most important decision you make. Your contractor is the person who makes everything happen, who stays in charge of the budget, who fixes problems as they come up, and who keeps you informed at every step of the way. Don’t be short-sighted when it comes to this decision; take the time and find one who you feel understands your priorities and is willing to work with you on your goals and your budget.
Here are some steps for finding a contractor recommended by U.S. News & World Report:
- Have an idea of what you want to accomplish before you begin interviewing contractors. The more specific you can be about your goals for the space, the more a prospective contractor will be able to talk specifics.
- Interview more than one contractor, and ask many of the same questions. Note how long the contractor has been in business.
- Get written bids for the project. A good contractor will expect to provide this.
- Ask a contractor how many similar jobs he or she has done. And don’t be shy about asking for references. A contractor should be happy to provide the names of some clients who have had similar work done, and probably has a portfolio of past work that you can see.
- Understand that there will be surprises – once a wall comes down, there may be a problem that no one could see before. Have a contingency fund that is 10 to 15 percent of your total contract.
- Make sure the contractor acquires all applicable permits.
- You should pay only between 10 to 30 percent of the cost (depending on cost of materials) before work begins, and the final payment shouldn’t happen until after the project is finished.
About Expert DC
Harry Headrick is the owner of Expert Design & Construction, a family-run business in Rancho Cordova that has been in operation since 2003. Harry’s brother, Jeff, is General Manager; his wife Jennifer, is Account Manager, and his sister, Taffy, is Project Coordinator. Together, they are dedicated to running a trustworthy, customer-oriented company that leaves clients delighted with their work.
“We made it through (the economic downturn of) 2008, when a lot of less-experienced firms did not. We have time-tested processes; we communicate well; and we work to build trust with the customer from the very beginning.”
If you are a potential client, Harry wants you to know that all company processes are transparent, from beginning to end, including the bidding process. His company is not a representative for any brand or manufacturer, meaning there’s no pressure to go a certain way or use a certain product. Expert Design & Construction has a portfolio of previous work available, and Harry is eager to hear about your project. His first question is typically how long you plan to live in your home; the second is how you want to use the space, because the answers to those two questions are critical to the scale of a project. His experience with remodels of all sizes – from single-room renovations to custom home-building – gives him the perspective to help create what will most suit you.
Do You Need A Custom Home?
Sometimes, clients want to start from scratch, building a custom home on a specific piece of property. Expert Design & Construction is very experienced in the detail and processes of custom home-building, and can create a plan for you – working from the beginning with your architect or designer if need be – that most suits your lifestyle. Ask to see our portfolio or talk to our references.