DIY home improvements have been steadily increasing over the past few years, thanks in part to the pandemic. Spending more time at home, consumers have had more opportunities to see potential home improvement projects.
From something as simple as hanging art to an elaborate kitchen renovation, you can do almost anything yourself. A study from Harvard University on home remodeling suggests that the recent uptick of DIY home improvement trend is not sustainable, and will decrease to normal levels in the future. The study points out that the overall home improvement market will remain strong in the future.
What happens when a DIY home project suddenly becomes too complex? Turning to a specialized contractor is the logical next step. Finding the right contractor is not as simple as it sounds though. Word of mouth is typically a smart way to go, but what if you can’t find a personal recommendation? Reviews and history can say a lot and sometimes serve as a good alert for potential red flags.
Below are some good tips and guidelines to follow when hiring a contractor for your next DIY home project.
Never Stop at the First Estimate
Collecting multiple estimates from various contractors is prudent and allows for insight into how each contractor plans to do the job based on the rate provided. This provides multiple options to analyze whether the estimate is fair and honest from your desired contractor for your DIY home project.
Most people go by the rule of 3 when gathering estimates from various contractors. It never hurts to have just one more because that next estimate may be from the ideal contractor.
Do Your Research
Checking the legal status of a prospective contractor is very telling and can alert you to potential red flags. It’s certainly better to find out beforehand if a contractor has a bad payment history with vendors and clients alike.
Another item to check off the list when researching a potential contractor is whether or not they are licensed, insured, and bonded. Bonding is an added layer of insurance which provides evidence that the contractor is serious about finishing the project.
Local contractors are a solid way to go because they are privy to any permit requirements in their area. Asking potential contractors about what local permits are required is a good way to test their knowledge and honesty. A local contractor is also more likely to do a better job on your home project since they also rely on referral business.
Never Pay Upfront
Some contractors will want a deposit to start the project, but never pay in full before the project starts. Review the estimate carefully to ensure everything outlined for work is mutually agreed upon. Moreover, make sure to have a contract in place before any work starts on your DIY home project.
Clear communication with Contractor
Set expectations with the contractor about work hours. When clear expectations are set and ‘house rules’ shared, both you and the contractor know what to expect. Deciding the work hours ahead of time are important because you don’t want the contractor showing up 3 hours before you planned, or two hours later than you scheduled. Clear communication keeps both parties happy and the working relationship harmonious.
In the end, as the folx at Popular Mechanics usually say, “Go With Your Gut”. If you have any experience working with a contractor and want to share some tips, please leave a comment below!
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