You’re ready to remodel your investment property. But how do you find the best contractors for home renovation projects? Follow these steps to choose the right contractor for your project.
1. Ask for Recommendations
Make a list of 10-15 potential contractors. Ask friends and fellow property investors who have recently had a positive experience with renovations. Other good sources include building inspectors, home improvement stores and online review sites.
2. Look at Home Renovation Portfolios
Now that you’ve made a preliminary list, it’s time to look at each contractor’s portfolio. Many contractors post portfolios on their company website. Find examples of the type of work you need. If you plan to upgrade a kitchen, for example, pictures of living room remodels won’t help you.
For each portfolio, check at least 10 projects that were completed within the past year. Look for clear images from before and after the project. Remove from your list anyone who does not specialize in your type of project or who is reluctant to share their portfolio.
3. Check Credentials and Insurance Coverage
Ask your state licensing board about their licensing requirements for contractors. The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards requires specific licenses for each specialization. For example, a masonry contractor must have a specialty masonry license.
Ask each contractor for up-to-date proof of liability insurance and workman’s compensation coverage. Cross off names of contractors who lack required licenses or insurance coverage.
4. Interview Contractors by Phone
Call each remaining contractor and ask questions about their experience and reliability, such as
- Do you have experience with this size or type of project?
- Will you apply for the necessary permits?
- Do you have a dispute resolution procedure?
- Do you work with an established network of subcontractors?
- Can you provide a list of clients and suppliers as references?
5. Interview Contractors Face-to-Face
After the phone interviews, meet with each of the top three or four prospects in person. This is your chance to find out how comfortable you are with each contractor. They should answer your questions clearly and thoroughly, with no hesitation.
6. Check References
Call the references for each remaining contractor on your list. Good questions include
- Was the project completed on time and did it meet your expectations?
- Did the contractor promptly return phone calls and reply to emails?
- Did the contractor provide progress reports during the renovation?
- Did the workers clean up the job site?
- Would you hire the contractor again?
If possible, visit one completed project from each contractor to verify the quality of their work.
7. Ask for Bids
It’s time to discuss your plans and accept bids. Bids should clearly list expenses such as materials, labor and profit margin. The lowest bid may not be the best choice. A higher bid may mean better quality materials and workmanship.
8. Hire a Contractor
You’ve accepted a bid, and are ready to hire your contractor. The last step is to sign a contract that includes a timetable, materials, payment schedule, dispute resolution clause and other relevant information. Now your project can begin!
Boston Contractors for Home Renovation Projects
Since 2007, Boston-area property investors have relied on RH Blanchard as contractors for home renovation projects. Contact us for a free quote!