How do you choose the right contractor for your project needs? According to the Consumer Federation of America and the NACAA, contracting is the top complaint among homeowners doing home improvement. Another survey found that almost half of all respondents would not hire their contractor for a future project. Maybe you’ve heard the famous mantra from many a GC, “I haven’t had a callback on ____(fill in the blank) in years.” This often assumes no negative reviews when, in reality, a client has simply decided to ‘move on with someone else’ without addressing a complaint with their previous contractor.
Here is a systematic 5P process along with a ranking/scoring system that will drastically reduce your stress of hiring the right contractor: People, Process, Portfolio, Price, & Past Clients. We will address these separately in the next few blog segments. Simply score each one on a 0-10 scale and then add together. We will discuss scoring later in this series as well.
- 1. People. Working together with your contractor is almost like a marriage. Does it fit? Do your personalities, passions, & vision for your project align? Is it easy to communicate with them or do they seem pushy, aloof, or non-caring, etc? Do you feel like you could connect with them on common themes of life?
- Ask lots of questions. They will be spending large amounts of time in and around your personal spaces, family, & pets. Can they be trusted in your space even if you’re not around? Are they helpful and comprehensive in their services? Will they help you in the design & decision making process? Are they seeking to add value to your life or make a quick buck?
2. Process. To a building contractor, this is the nuts and bolts of what makes the business run like a well oiled machine. While they live and breathe this every day, they may forget to brief you on their process and what works for them. Do they have a good process for production? Do they use a good digital experience like BuilderTrend to keep everyone in the loop and keep things rolling smoothly? Do they outline who does what and when, such as permit acquisition? Do they have a main contact person that communicates well? Do they introduce their team before production starts?
3. Portfolio. Ahh, yes, the visuals! Seeing is believing, right!? While a long-standing company will have lots of experience, sometimes the process and crew can become callous and routine. This can often lead to overlooked details or grumpy attitudes. On the other hand, a budding entrepreneur who is a sponge for knowledge and experience will be excited to work with you and perhaps offer a more personal & custom-tailored approach even though his actual long-term experience may be lacking. Take some time to evaluate their portfolio, and their overall knowledge of the industry and building science issues.
….continued in part 2