Before starting his own construction company in 2012, Alberto Mordoki of Fullerton, California, managed a large number of contracting projects, including home and commercial building renovations. In many cases, Alberto took over a project that had been done poorly by an unreliable contractor or homeowner.
First and Foremost
All contractors must be licensed and certified. A licensed and certified contractor must pass an exam proving their competency and experience in the field. They’ve also demonstrated that they understand zoning laws, building codes, permits, and inspections.
While some states don’t require contractors to be licensed and certified, licensed contractors are the safest bet, says Alberto Mordoki. They only work with other licensed contractors and as such, they can assure the overall quality of a project when it requires multiple construction experts to complete.
Additionally, most states require licensed and certified contractors to carry liability insurance to cover any accidents or damages that may occur. This law protects you and the contractor from personal injury lawsuits.
Look for a contractor who comes highly recommended. Ask friends and family for any contractors they recommend.
You can also check the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of contractors. Check with the local Better Business Bureau to make sure potential contractors don’t have any substantial complaints filed against them.
Local professionals can also make solid referrals, notes Alberto Mordoki. For example, building inspectors will know which contractors consistently meet code requirements. Local lumber yards can tell who buys quality materials and pays their bills on time.
It’s also appropriate to request references from other contractors. You can ask for a list of subcontractors they work with and how long they have worked together. The best contractors have strong, long-term working relationships with other contractors.
Ask prospective contractors for a breakdown in cost for their bids and do a side-by-side comparison with multiple quotes. It is often a good idea to throw out the lowest bid, a contractor who is low-balling is likely cutting corners or desperate for work.
More Research — Are They a Good Fit?
If it’s feasible, check out a contractor’s current job site. See how the contractor interacts with the client and the workers. Check to see if everyone is being safe and get a feel for how the workers treat the client’s property.
It’s a good idea to confirm that a contractor doesn’t have too many projects going at the same time. If they are spread too thin, they won’t be readily available for all of their clients.
Most importantly, says Alberto Mordoki, look for a contractor who you feel comfortable interacting with and has strong communication skills. If they are friendly and easy to work with, everyone will feel comfortable on the job.