6 Ways to Find a Reliable and Affordable Contractor

Finding a reliable contractor for your home renovations is tough. There are thousands of contractors out there, and many of them charge excessively. But finding a trustworthy contractor who charges reasonable prices is even harder.

Many times we end up with bad contractors because we didn't do our homework before hiring them.

Luckily, there are some simple tips you can use to find a reliable and affordable contractor. When you put these suggestions into practice, you will not only save time, money, and headaches, but you’ll also get a beautifully and professionally renovated home.

1. Research and Collect Information

Your first source of information could be online resources like HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, and Thumbtack.

Interviewing contractors is another essential part of hiring someone to do work around your house.

It is crucial that you finish this stage first before making any decisions. Review some of their recent work to see if it meets your standards.

Furthermore, wait until you have seen a written quote before signing anything. If you have any issues or inquiries about the projects or the contractor, ask them during the interview process.

Decide what you need

A general contractor is usually the way to go, because they have experience with all sorts of projects and are able to handle everything from the electrics to the plumbing to painting. Once you’ve decided on what work needs to be done, it’s a good idea to create a shortlist of contractors in your area.

Choose your contractor

Once you've narrowed down your options, choose one that best suits your project. Do some research into each contractor's background and reputation. Be wary of companies with low ratings on sites like Angie's List. Also, check references and reviews.

Start negotiating

When you're ready to start negotiating, set up a meeting with the contractor. Note everything down. Set a sensible spending limit and adhere to it.

Remember that you don't want to spend money on something that isn't worthwhile. So make sure you are thorough in your research and able to stick to a reasonable budget.

2. Check References

Hiring a contractor isn't always easy. So how can you evaluate a potential contractor?

The best way to check out a potential contractor is to ask for references. If you don't ask about problems, you'll never be aware of them. Additionally, you won't be able to resolve any problems that come up. So, start asking around.

People often say things like, "I'm sorry I can't give you a reference," or they may make an attempt to dismiss your request for references with another excuse.

Don't take no for an answer. Instead, politely ask something such as, "Is there anyone else you'd recommend?" This can provide the extra motivation they need to supply you with references.

Once you have their references, call them up to ask about their experience with the contractor.

The most important thing is to find out how they treat their clients, so make sure that they have lots of positive feedback.

You can also read through their customer reviews or even ask them directly about their work and services if you want more information. If possible, contact them via telephone or email before hiring them to ensure that they are local and open to working with you.

3. Visit Previous Projects

Check out previous projects to see how the contractor handled similar jobs. Also, check to see if the contractor has an online portfolio. This will show off his or her skills and professionalism.

You will want to inquire about visiting places where the contractor has worked previously. For instance, if a neighbor, friend, or family member has hired them for work in the past, you could pay them a visit to see the quality of the contractor's work. This offers crucial insight into the contractors skills.

When visiting previous projects, pay attention to the finish and the small details. If there are signs of corners being cut, you may want to look for another contractor.

Visiting previous work sites also allows you to gain inspirations of features you like in other people’s homes that you already know the contractor can install to a high standard.

4. Get Multiple Quotes

If you want to save some cash, it pays to shop around. Getting multiple estimates helps ensure you get the best deal possible.

You might think that you know what price you'll end up paying for your project, but it's important to get several estimates. This way, you can find out whether the contractor you choose takes into account any additional costs or risks.

For example, do they charge extra for certain dates? Do they offer guarantees? How long does it usually take them to complete projects?

If you're looking for a general contractor, ask about the scope of work. Will they handle everything from framing walls to installing cabinets? Or will they just focus on certain aspects of the job, such as drywall installation or plumbing fixtures?

Get different quotes based on the type of materials used. Some companies charge less per square foot when working with certain materials. For instance, you may need to pay more for a vinyl finish compared to a cheap type of wood.

Ask for a breakdown of costs. This is an estimate given beforehand that outlines what you will be paying for different aspects of the projects so you know how much each part of the build is costing you. In their estimate, they factor in the costs of both the supplies and the labor.

Investigate several methods that might allow you to cut costs. Consult with the contractors about the best way of getting the renovations you desire at the lowest price. Also, consider asking if you can provide your own supplies.

If you plan to undertake the painting yourself, factor the necessary expenses into your budget. This is actually a good way of cutting down on labor expenses, as painting walls yourself can be cheaper than hiring a painter.

5. Focus on Details

When shopping for a contractor, look at all the details.

It's easy to lose track of such particulars when your attention is diverted elsewhere in the process. If you do not remain vigilant, it is possible that you could wind up spending more than you had planned.

For example, did you know that most contractors require a deposit upfront? This is an insurance policy for the contractors as it creates a commitment; on top of this, your deposit may help cover the initial cost of supplies for the job.

Some contractors may request a significant proportion of the total payment upfront. The issue with hiring these contractors is it's hard to raise complaints or request more work if you are unhappy with the end result.

Also, enquire about financing options. These days, many homeowners prefer to finance their projects themselves instead of using a traditional bank loan.

Making a detailed plan is an excellent way of keeping your building project on track. You should plan for disruptions, expenses, timelines, and materials to stay on top of the build. Doing your homework before getting started will save you both time and money.

6. Arrange a Schedule and Find a Suitable Method of Payment

Depending on the scale and scope of your construction project, and your personal finance situation, your contractor may offer different payment schedule options. For smaller projects that are inexpensive, the contractor will likely want the entire payment in one go, either at the start or upon completion of the project.

However, for long term construction jobs and projects with a higher price tag, contractors may offer a payment schedule that’s spread out over a few weeks or months. For instance, you could pay 10% of the total cost per week for 10 weeks.

Another common payment schedule would be a lump sum at the start to cover material costs and the contractors expenses for the projects, and then the remainder of the money will be paid upon completion. The advantage of this schedule is that you can ensure you are happy with the end result before completing the payment.

It is a fear of every homeowner who is renovating their house that their contractor might not be reliable and could “run off” with the money. At Housetable, we help homeowners create a payment schedule. We set milestones that must be met and verified by all parties before a payment is released to the contractor.

When it comes to paying contractors, there are several ways to do it. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and choosing one over another may depend on how much work is involved and whether the payment schedule requires advance notice.

1. Cash

Cash payments are fast and simple. But they require a lot of trust—and sometimes, that trust isn't warranted.

If you don't know the contractor well enough to feel comfortable handing out wads of money, consider asking him or her to sign a contract or use escrow. This gives you peace of mind because you'll always know where the money is.

2. Check

Check payments are usually less expensive than cash or other online payments as businesses often charge convenience fees for paying through these services. They take longer to process, though, since checks must travel through multiple banks and clearinghouses. Checks can also be harder to track down if something goes wrong.

For example, if a contractor doesn't show up to perform his or her job, it could be hard to find the person responsible for sending the check.

3. Credit card

Credit cards offer the most flexibility, but they come with fees and interest rates. You can set up automatic payments, and you won't have to worry about tracking down someone to send a check.

The process can take a few days, but the transaction will eventually be completed.

4. Bank transfer

Bank transfers are similar to credit card payments. The only difference is that you transfer money directly from your checking account into the contractor's bank account. You can avoid having to remember to make the transfer by setting up an automatic one.

5. PayPal

PayPal is a popular online payment service that allows people to make quick, secure transactions without sharing financial information.

It's especially useful for paying for goods and services like a contractor's fee, as it allows individuals and businesses to easily sign up and transfer funds.

Common Pitfalls in Home Renovation Projects

If you've ever renovated a house, you probably know that home renovation projects aren't cheap. In some places, you may end up paying between $10,000 and $50,000 just to remodel your kitchen.

Here are six common pitfalls that can ruin your home renovation project.

1. Not doing your homework

Do your research before beginning any renovation job. Take the time to learn what you'll need to complete each step, how long it should take, and what equipment will be necessary.

In addition, you might seek the advice of those closest to you. Ask people with construction experience, or maybe ask for some pointers from a friend who has a good eye for design.

2. Going with the wrong builder

It can be tempting to choose the first contractor you come across when you're in the market for home improvements. This, alas, can cause issues down the road.

Besides letting you look at their prior work, a reliable contractor will gladly provide you with references. All of the project costs will be broken down for you and explained by him or her.

A reliable contractor will also hold certificates, credentials, or licenses to prove that they are competent and qualified. Hiring unskilled contractors is a recipe for disaster with potentially expensive consequences.

3. Taking on too many workers

The sheer volume of work required for a home improvement project can leave anyone feeling defeated. This leads many homeowners to hire extra contractors to get the build done. However, this quickly increases labor costs.

Hiring a general contractor is more cost-effective than employing a number of separate specialists to carry out the work. You won't have to micromanage every facet of the project this way, freeing you up to focus on other areas.

4. Failing to plan ahead

A home renovation project requires careful planning. Before you start working, figure out exactly what needs to be done and how much time it will take. Then, create a timeline that shows you when certain tasks will be completed.

If you don't plan ahead, you may end up spending more time and money fixing mistakes that you didn't anticipate.

5. Ignoring safety issues

Safety issues are always a concern during home renovations. Whether you're installing new flooring or tearing down walls, there are many hazards that can cause serious injury. This is why it's crucial to hire qualified contractors who are trained and knowledgeable about safe work practices to reduce the risk of accidents or injury.

Also you should steer clear of the worksite and keep children away as construction sites are not safe for untrained people.

6. Overlooking quality control

Quality control is extremely important during a home renovation project. Be sure to check the work of your contractors regularly. Ask them to show you their work and keep detailed notes of any issues you find.

If you are unsure about how to check the quality of the contractor's work, consult someone with more knowledge. A family member, friend, or maybe a project manager could review their work for you.

Wrapping Up

If you're looking for a reliable contractor, look for someone who has been around for a while. They will have a proven track record and likely be able to give you references from past clients.

Also, ask around for recommendations and check online reviews. There are tons of websites where homeowners post their experiences with contractors, and you should definitely take advantage of them.

Hiring contractors for home renovations can be expensive, and sourcing funding can be time consuming. At Housetable, we don’t just analyze the current property value of your home but also the value it will have after the remodeling project.

We provide you with an estimate of how much your property will be worth following renovations, as well as estimated costs and timelines and a curated selection of upgrades most likely to boost your home's value. Plus, we will vet your chosen contractor to ensure they are qualified and licensed.

See how much you can borrow, your expected monthly payments, and how that changes depending on which improvements you choose to make, all without hurting your credit score.

Keep track of your contractors' progress reports, manage scope adjustments, and approve payment releases with our mobile app.

Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you with your home renovations. We would love to help you make your home remodeling dreams a reality!

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