Finding a reliable, trustworthy and reputable building contractor for a project can be quite a daunting task. We’ve all heard the horror stories: contractors who have left projects halfway through, jobs that have been done to a low standard or even projects that have gone wrong and people are left to pay for something that they did not ask for.
If you are looking to have some work done on your house then finding a reliable contractor who will not overcharge is essential. You will want someone who completes the project to a high standard, someone who understands your visions and someone who can complete the project on time. You will also want to hire a contractor who has the appropriate experience, knowledge and qualifications.
Below are a few tips on what to look out for when hiring a building contractor for your home project to make sure that you get the best service possible.
Consider the reputation of local tradesmen
It is very important to check out a company or contractor’s reputation before hiring them – after all, if other customers are not happy with their work then the chances are you may not be happy either.
Ask the contractor for customer references and testimonials so that you can clearly read about other people’s experiences and ensure that the contractor is reliable, trustworthy and reputable. If your neighbours, friends or family have used the contractor before, be sure to ask them how long the project took, whether the contractor turned up on time and whether they tidied up after themselves. The last thing you want is to come home to a huge mess.
Good contractors will likely be busy and sought after, so chances are they won’t actually need to advertise themselves. Usually, word of mouth will be enough. If you are recommended a contractor by a friend or family member, be sure to check them out. If someone is available to start a project right away, it may be a warning sign.
Do some research when it comes to price
Of course, you need to shop around and do some research when it comes to getting the best deal. Try to narrow your selection down to your top three choices, and then compare bids. In order to narrow your selection down, you should consider price, timescale, reputation and qualifications.
When you’ve got your top three, ask each property maintenance company for a clear breakdown of the cost of labour, materials and other expenses as well as profit margin; then, compare them.
Do, however, keep in mind that if a contractor gives you an offer that is far, far lower than the others then this may be a sign that they are cutting corners or using materials that are cheaper and less reliable. While you do want the best value, it is also important to make sure that the job is completed to a high standard, even if this means spending a few more pennies.
Make sure that the contractor has the appropriate credentials
It is always important to hire a contractor that is experienced, knowledgeable and credible. You should find a contractor that has experience and one that has been in the business for a while, with evidence of the success of their previous projects. When it comes to building contractors, the more experience the better. Look for a contractor that is insured, licensed and registered; you will want a contractor that is both qualified and professional. If they have a website, this should all be clear on there. If you want to make sure, ask to see copies of certificates.
Last but not least, go with your gut
If you have a bad feeling about a building contractor, they have taken too long to get back to you, they are unclear about certain aspects of the project or you just don’t like them for some reason, then follow your instinct and do not hire them. If it is a big project then a contractor will be in and around your house for a while, so you want to make sure that you get on with them and are completely comfortable with their methods, communication skills and personality.
Questions to ask potential building companies
- Will I need any building permissions for this project? It is important to ask if any building permissions will be needed. If the contractor offers to obtain the permissions for you then you should ask to see them to make sure that they have definitely done this. The last thing you want is a project going ahead that should not be. Contact the council to ensure that these permissions have gone through with no issues.
- How long do you estimate the project will take to finish? It is good to know when your project is expected to be finished so that you can work out timings for yourself. If you want your kitchen to be finished in time for your big party in June, then you need to know exactly what to expect. Contractors should be honest when predicting how long it will take. If a contractor gives you a far quicker (and possibly unrealistic) time than expected, then it may be a sign that they are making false promises.
- Which parts of my house will be a building site and how will you clean up? Before the project starts, you should ask the building contractor whether they are going to dispose of the construction rubbish and use a skip or whether that is up to you to sort out. If it is up to you, then you should look into the price of hiring a skip and how you will best dispose of the rubbish.
Mistakes to avoid
The last thing you want is a contractor who makes a mistake, mismanages a project or leaves you with an unfinished job. This is why it is important to avoid certain mistakes when choosing and hiring a contractor. Common mistakes include:
- Not verifying references. As well as asking for references and testimonials, make sure that you actually contact these references and check that they were satisfied with the work of the contractor. Ask them how the overall experience was, if they met the conditions of the contract and whether the job was completed on time. Just because a contractor has a range of references does not mean that everyone was satisfied with their work.
- Not writing up a proposal. Make sure that you get everything down in writing; do not just discuss your visions and needs verbally. Make sure that a detailed contract is written up and agreed on by both parties so that you have written evidence of your requirements. If the contractor fails to complete your project as you requested, this will come in handy. In your written contract make sure that you include a payment schedule, completion dates and a full description of the project.
John Mutch Building Services: Aberdeen’s reliable all trades building services company
Here at John Mutch we provide an outstanding level of service in joinery, building, locksmithing, electrical, plumbing and property maintenance. Whatever work or maintenance you need doing on your home, our friendly and experienced team are here to help.
John Mutch started in 2003 as a small electrical company and has since grown and flourished to offer other high-quality services and trades, building up an excellent reputation in the Aberdeen community. We are honoured to have been voted Best All Trades Company at the Scottish Home Improvement Awards in 2017 by our customers and are proud to be accredited by a range of regulatory bodies including MLA, SELECT, SNIPEF and NQA.
At John Mutch we understand the importance of hiring a reliable building contractor for your project which is why are extremely passionate about our customer service and always go above and beyond to complete every job to a professional standard. For more information or to find about more about what we do, get in touch today.