One of the most challenging aspects of any construction project is selecting the right builder. Even a simple construction task could take months of planning and cost a fortune. So, the last thing you want is to put your faith in amateurs, with little guarantee that they can deliver your project the way you want.
Tips For Hiring a Reputable Builder
Before hiring a professional builder for any construction or renovation-related task, it is important to keep the following tips in mind.
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- Conduct thorough research. Find out all you can about the potential builder. Talk to your friends, family members, co-workers, or the staff at a local home improvement store. Make sure to work with only a proven and highly qualified builder.
- Look for licenses and insurance. Like all professionals, good builders are licensed and insured. Verify the builder’s license and go through the insurance documents. Make sure you understand the damage and liability clauses.
- Take your time. You don’t have to rush and hire the first builder you come across. If you’re thinking of trusting someone with your home and finances, you want to make sure you make the right call. Interview as many builders as possible before making the final choice. However, once you’ve made your decision, book the builder as early as possible.
- Discuss budget and timeline. While you’re interviewing potential builders, it is a good idea to discuss the construction budget and timeline with them at this stage. Talk to the builder and chalk out a rough plan. Find out an estimate of how much the construction project will cost you and how long the project will last.
- Accept everything in writing. If the builder offers an estimate, get it in writing. Do not settle for verbal communication. Ask for a written estimate from the builder that lists down the material and labor costs.
- Figure out what you need. Before even thinking about hiring a builder, find out what you really need. Do you want to enhance your kitchen’s décor or tear it down and build it from scratch? Once you’ve figured out what you want, it becomes easier to communicate your needs to the builder.
- Expect the unexpected. It’s not just a line from the movie Roadhouse. Construction work is tiresome, and human beings aren’t perfect. As a result, the task may result in a few delays and mishaps. It is best to account and prepare for these changes when discussing the plan with a builder.
- Try not to pay too much up front. Builders often ask for a percentage as advance payment before the commencement of a project. While it is an accepted practice to pay an advance to cover the initial material cost, make sure you’re not paying the entire billable upfront.
- It’s going to be a mess. Construction work is messy, and it’s quite impractical to expect the builder, workers, and subcontractors to keep the jobsite clean. However, make sure the contract clearly states that the builder will be responsible for clearing up the jobsite once the task is complete. If the contract does not mention such a clause, look for another builder.
- Ask for samples. Hiring a reputable builder is a lot like selecting a skilled photographer from a bunch of people with a DSLR camera. Just as you would want to review the photographer’s portfolio, you should consider reviewing the builder’s body of work. Go through some of the projects the builder has completed and even visit the sites if necessary.
- Look for referrals. Reliable builders do not only have qualifications, skills, and insurance, they also have a happy clientele. If the potential builder has a website, look for reviews on Google and Glassdoor. In the event you know a few of the builder’s clients personally or they reside near you, make it a point to contact them and obtain honest reviews from them.
- Discuss the need for subcontractors. There are many areas where builders rely on subcontractors. For instance, a builder may know how to install roof panels, but he or she might be clueless on how to repair a busted pipe or get rid of toxic molds. Discuss the need for subcontractors with the primary builder. It is also important to talk about the liability of these specialists, since a subcontractor’s insurance is often covered under the general builder’s insurance.
- Consider retention clause. If you’re planning a large construction project, you’ll probably need to go the extra mile to make your investment worth it. Make sure the construction contract includes a retention clause. The clause will allow you to retain a small amount of stage payments, which you can release at the end of the project or even after that. The percentage could be between 3-5 percent, and it generally covers minor issues that need to be rectified once the construction project is complete (e.g. faulty electric wiring.)
- Ensure effective communication. A typical construction projects involves builders, subcontractors, and workers. And, of course, the person who pays the bill (that is you!) If you notice an issue, discuss it with the concerned party on a prompt basis. Make sure you understand what needs to be done at all times. Ensuring effective communication can keep you up-to-date with the project.
- Don’t compromise on quality. Once you’ve finalized a few options, it may be tempting to go with the cheapest one. Just because an option is saving you a few hundred dollars doesn’t mean it is the right one. Base your selection on factors other than money, such as expertise, quality of materials to be used, and the complexity of the project.
- Book as early as possible. When it comes to finding a good builder, early bird gets the worm. It means that those who plan their construction work and do their research well in advance are likely to find a reliable builder quickly.
If you’re planning a construction project and looking for a dependable builder with license, insurance, and expertise, feel free to let us know. We have a team of experts who can help you out with various aspects of your construction task.