The best way to check the quality of contractors is to compare all the relevant ones, submit them to an objective assessment based on the same, most crucial factors, and then choose the finest one.
The large number of investors in the construction of family houses are individuals who are not professional in this business. One of the many dilemmas, and certainly one of the most important, is – how to know which contractor is of good quality and up to the task of realizing our idea properly. The question is how to collect the necessary data, what the important data are, how not to miss something, how to be objective, and the answers should be given by non-professional investors.
So we have prepared for you a guide that will, through a few simple steps, guide you on how to do this important job without much effort and without anyone’s help.
How to find a good contractor?
Finding a good contractor begins with creating a database that will contain as much relevant information as possible about all the contractors with whom you can potentially enter into an agreement and engage them.
Contacts of potential contractors involved in the construction of houses in your area, you can collect using the Internet, asking your designer, but you should also ask relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbors… By collecting contacts alone, you will eliminate some contractors… some are too expensive, some only contract larger facilities, some do not work in your area…
Enter, then, the contacts in one column of the simple EXCEL table and in the rows enter the data we listed below.
Evaluate each bidder, one by one criterion, giving ratings (from one to three say) based on the data collected. Two or more bidders can receive the same evaluation according to some of the criteria. You can assign a coefficient to the criterion that you consider more important than the others (grades according to this criterion are multiplied by two or three). In the end, summarize all the marks and you will get the winner.
Before you start choosing a contractor, you should have a completed house project or at least a conceptual solution. Often people are not sure if the floor plan offered to them, which they may like, is really what they need.
1. Previously built projects
Previous, successfully implemented projects are the best guarantee for future success. You don’t need a beginner if you are a beginner yourself, you need someone with a reputation!
2. Customer experiences
Once you find out what projects your contractors have been working on, try to get in touch with their clients. If contractors have nothing to hide, they will give you the contacts themselves. There is nothing that can encourage you more than words of support from people who have already gone through what awaits you. If they have any remarks or complaints – listen carefully and calculate!
3. Financial portfolio
Make sure that your potential contractor’s finances are solid, as this not only speaks about the quality of his business, to a certain extent, but also avoids the potentially embarrassing situation that work on your house is stalled because the contractor’s accounts are blocked.
It is one thing when someone is satisfied with the work done, and quite another when he says that he would recommend you to do the same. Recommendations can be given not only by a former client but also by your architect or someone who is in business and you trust him.
5. Quality certificates
Ask the bidders to show you all the quality certificates they have. It does not matter whether some of these certificates are required to perform your work or not. Based on this you will conclude how seriously they are committed to the profession.
6. Membership in guild associations
If someone is a member of a guild association, it usually means that he had to meet some criteria for admission, which again gives a hint of quality. On the other hand, many associations have an elaborate method of protecting the interests of their members’ clients, in order to protect their own reputation.
Ask what guarantees the contractor gives you. All this, of course, you have to put in the contract. However, keep in mind that the main question is – on which basis the guarantees are given, in order not to remain just “the words on paper”.
8. Way of communicating
When you make contact with potential contractors, the very way of communication will tell you a lot about the course of future cooperation.
Imagine, if they don’t answer phone calls or answer emails quickly during the negotiation phase, how they will behave when a problem arises during the construction phase. If they are not kind, ask yourself if they really care about doing business with you. If they insist on some clauses of the contract or conditions that do not suit you, consider whether there is any hidden intention!
9. Overall professionalism
You can’t tell a book by its cover! Still, you can have some idea. Pay attention to the appearance of business premises, clothing of employees, manners, quality of advertising material… All this can help you to conclude whether the contractor is oriented towards long-term business or only uses the opportunity that has appeared on the market.
10. Readiness for challenges
One of the important indicators of a contractor’s quality is his willingness to tackle the challenges of building new, different, unconventional architectural elements. Only the best in their business, or total dilettantes, can allow themselves to go where no one else has gone.
11. The price
Although the vast majority starts from this criterion, and many do not take other criteria into account at all, we left it for the end, on purpose! If someone is the cheapest, there is probably a big reason for it. On the other hand, even the highest price, almost as a rule, does not guarantee the highest quality.
Our recommendation is to find a contractor who suits you best, in relation to the other criteria mentioned above, and then, with the help of the techniques we have described in our article on this topic, try to work out the best price for yourself.
Finally, let us emphasize that, no matter how high-quality the contractor is, it is necessary to supervise and control the work during execution.