Step 4: Get estimates from three different companies
This is part four of a 6 part series on how to hire a contractor to do work in your home. You want the best contractor to do business with, and we want to help.
Once you’ve narrowed your search to a handful of potential contractors, you want to get written quotes and detailed estimates from at least three. This is a time-consuming process, and it requires extra effort upfront, but it ends with your home having high-quality renovations and equipment for the fairest price.
Why you need three estimates: this helps you realize the scope of the project and just how detailed and time-consuming it’ll be so you know what you’re getting yourself into before the work even begins. The estimates should contain the overall scope of the project with completion dates clearly documented.
Itemized estimates: Ask for a written itemized estimate so you get the full picture of the total cost. Just because one contractor hands you a cheap estimate, doesn’t mean the actual bill will still be cheap. The cheap contractor may be using sub-par materials that won’t be worth the money, time, and effort you invest in your home. If you really like one contractor but their prices are higher than the others, ask them why their price is higher and if they would be willing to meet the less expensive price. They may have priced you better work or more expense equipment. Often times a really low price today will cost you more by the end of the project because short cuts were taken.
Questions to ask: Call the city you live in to describe your project and ask if you’ll need any permits. That way, you’re armed with the correct information. Then you can ask your three potential contractors if you’ll need permits to get a feel of how knowledgeable and trustworthy they are. Ask about their licensing and insurance. Ask for a list of the subcontractors that will be used in your project and for their licensing information as well.
Communication with contractors: By asking potential contractors for estimates, you’re beginning a conversation with them. Use this as an opportunity to check for red flags. How does the contractor communicate? Are the exchanges open, honest, and quickly attended? If it’s hard to get in contact or hear back from them in the beginning, save yourself the headache. If they’re rude or unpleasant to work with now, forget them. Move to the next contractor.
Red Flags: Anyone using high pressure sales techniques, only accepts cash, or doesn’t want to use a written contract. Also, never get any permit for a contractor, because if they mess up the person whose name is on the permit is held responsible. That takes all the responsibility off of the contractors and onto you.
When you hire Leinbach Services INC, you can call us anytime, day or night, even holidays, for excellent customer service. We offer special financing with approved credit. Call us to get an estimate Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call Leinbach Services Inc. for your heating and cooling needs. We also do electrical, plumbing and handyman services.
Johnson City 423.282.4983 Bristol 423.764.0126 Kingsport 423.239.3147
Do you have experience with a contractor that was difficult to get a hold of or to follow-up with you? We would love to hear your experience with any type of contractors. Did you know what you’re getting into? What would you have done different if you could turn back time?
Keep reading to find out the next step in hiring a contractor.
*Following these tips doesn’t guarantee you won’t hire a conman. Use your best judgment and gut feelings before letting anyone into your home.*