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Hiring a Remodeling Contractor
Calling and meeting the contractors - Page 3


by Leon A. Frechette

Now that you've done a little background check on your three contractors, give each contractor a call. Don't be discouraged if you don't reach the contractor on the first call as he may be on a job site or in the field. Whether you get an answering service, a secretary, an answering machine, or a child, leave your name and number and request that the contractor return your call to set up an appointment.

When the contractor does return your call, briefly describe what you have in mind. Set up a time for you, or you and your spouse, to meet for more detailed discussion. If your three appointments are all planned for the same day, space the appointments at least two hours apart. I recommend that you not request a quote or price over the phone as it’s nearly impossible for the contractor to give prices on something he cannot see.

Depending on how busy the season is, it may take up to a week to make an appointment with the contractor. At this point many customers get impatient and start looking for "anyone" who can do their project. I urge you to be patient and resist this temptation as you could end up facing one or more of the following problems:

  1. Hiring a contractor who is not licensed, bonded, or insured.
  2. The possibility of your project not ever being started, resulting in the loss of your deposit.
  3. Your project not meeting local codes.
  4. Paying full price for your project and the job not being done to your satisfaction.
  5. Discovering that you do not have a signed contract/agreement, resulting in no legal recourse.

Unfortunately, these things do happen, so please be patient. There are a lot of good qualified professional contractors in the industry. The fact that they are busy should indicate that their work is worth waiting for.

When you meet your three prospective contractors for the first time, note:

  1. Did the contractors introduce themselves to you?
  2. Did the contractors mention their companies' names?
  3. Did the contractors confirm your name(s) and the reason for their visits to your home?

These are important questions because they stress a contractor's commitment to open communication. Knowing that the contractor is courteous and well-informed will help you determine how well you will work together. The contractor's demeanor is important as you want a contractor to have good manners in front of your children or other household members.

It's important to ask if you're meeting with the contractor or a company salesperson. I recommend that you speak with the contractor, but if that is not possible, be sure to establish whether the salesman has experience in the field. If you are uncomfortable with the salesman, then ask to speak with the person who will do your project before you make your final decision.

It's important that you feel comfortable with the contractor you select because you're trusting your home to this person. I know from experience that customers have a difficult time accepting strangers in their homes. When you show your confidence with this construction professional, you automatically open a new line of communication and trust. If a contractor feels your trust, he'll be comfortable around you and around his work and your project—and that will show in the quality of his work on your project.

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I have developed a series of legal business forms to help consumers and contractors through the bidding and contractual process. The Contractors Helping Hands Packet includes Itemized Bid Sheets along with a Contract/Agreement Sheet and an Extra Work and/or Change Order Sheet. To order your set of forms, click on purchase button to the left!

Copyright © 2006 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved. The previous article, in whole or in part, appeared
on the market in 1988 in The Helping Hands Guide To Hiring A Remodeling Contractor.

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