How To Hire A Reliable Remodeling Contractor

Get Recommendations
Start with your friends and family and then check with the Remodelers of Clark County for a list of members who are professional in their field. Select the contractors you would like to interview. Go on the Washington Department of Labor and Industry Web site and check each contractor to see if they are currently registered in good standing.  You can also check your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is another place to check to see if contractors are in good standing.

Have Phone Interviews
Once you’ve assembled a list, call each of your prospects and ask them the following questions:

• Do they take on projects of your size?

• Will they give you a list of previous clients?

• How many other projects would they have going at the same time?

• How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s availability, reliability, how much attention they’ll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.

Schedule a time to Interview the Contractors
Based on the phone interviews, Choose the contractors you want to meet. This is the time to see who will be the best suited to meet the demands of your project. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. Communication between you and the contractor will be crucial since this person will be in your home for hours at a time.

Make Plans, Get Bids 
In order to get an apples to apples bids on your project will require a design that clearly delineates the complete scope of work and materials. Choose the contractors you feel have good work ethics and have a proven track record in doing projects like yours.  Have them provide you with a detailed proposal that includes the following. Payment schedule, Complete specifications and Material allowance schedule. Be aware that if your home was built prior to 1978 it may contain lead and only contractors that are Lead Certified Renovators are allowed by State law to even bid on your project.

Will my project require a permit?
Local municipalities require permits for building projects, even for simple jobs like installing water heaters or building decks. A competent contractor will get all necessary permits before starting work on your project. You may want to choose a contractor familiar with the permit process in your county, city or town.

Get a written contract

Written contracts are required for any work over $1,000. vary by state. It should be clear and concise and include the who, what, where, when, and cost of your project. Before you sign a contract, make sure it includes:

  • the contractor’s name, address, phone, and license number
  • the payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers
  • the contractor’s obligation to get all necessary permits
  • how change orders are handled. A change order is a written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract, and could affect the project’s cost and schedule.
  • a list of all materials. If some materials will be chosen later, the contract should say who’s responsible for choosing each item and how much money is budgeted for it (this is also known as the “allowance”).
  • information about warranties covering materials and workmanship, with names and addresses of who is honoring them — the contractor, distributor, or manufacturer. The length of the warranty period and any limitations also should be spelled out.