Choosing a new contractor can be an extremely stressful process considering that you are putting your trust in someone that you are unfamiliar with to work on your home. You want to feel confident that the job will be done right, on time, and on budget. We at Gonyea Construction Building & Remodeling have years of experience and would like to share some tips on how to make that process a little easier on you.
1.) Make sure that the contractor you choose to hire is a licensed contractor. You can check the status of Massachusetts contractors at www.state.ma.us/dps/licenseelist.asp and type in the contractors name you wish to look up. They must also have a HIC license (Home Improvement Contractor) you can check the status of that license by going to http://services.oca.state.ma.us/hic/licenseelist.aspx .
2.) If your home was built before 1978 you will want to make sure the contractor you pick is licensed in lead safe renovations which is a new federal law required of all contractors. You can check the status of a contractors license at
3.) You also want to check to see if the licensed contractor you hire is fully insured. In order to have a building permit pulled by a contractor they must have workman's compensation insurance as well as liability insurance. This protects you the homeowner as well as the contractor.
4.) Find out how long the contractor has been in business for and if they ever served an apprenticeship with anyone. This will give you a general idea of how many years of experience they have in the construction industry.
5.) When interviewing contractors find out what construction projects they have done over the years. You don't want to hire someone to remodel your bathroom or put on an addition to your home if all they have ever done is siding and roofing.
6.) Be sure to ask for references from previous customers and if the contractor would be willing to arrange for you to speak directly to those previous customers.
7.) It is also a good idea to ask if the contractor would be willing to give references from their suppliers. What your looking for is to check and see if they have had a long term relationship with their lumber yards, plumbing suppliers, cabinet suppliers, etc...
8.) When you interview a contractor see if they not only listen to what your wants, needs and worries are but also see if they offer any new ideas as well. You never know, with years of experience and knowledge the contractor may have an idea or two that you may never have thought of or he may have an idea that would save you money.
9.) When you receive your estimate from the contractor, make sure that they will provide you with a typed or written contract of that estimate. Usually the contractor will have you sign three copies, one for you the homeowner, one for the building inspector, as well as one for the contractor himself.
10.) If you are planning on doing a larger job such as a kitchen or an addition, it is a good idea to ask if they can provide you with a payment schedule. This is not only beneficial to yourself the homeowner but to the contractor as well. With a payment schedule (pay as you go) the homeowner doesn't have to worry about the contractor not completing the project and the contractor doesn't have to worry about not getting paid for his work.
11.) Lastly, make sure you feel comfortable with whomever you hire. Again, you are putting your trust in someone you don't really know with one of the most important aspects of your life, your home.