The most difficult aspect of any home improvement project for most homeowners isn't the work itself – it's finding a professional and trustworthy contractor to do it. Installing kitchen cabinets, knocking down walls, and retiling floors are simple tasks compared to the difficulty of finding a reliable contractor who can complete the project on time and on budget.

If you are planning to put up your ideal home using hard-earned money, it will be hard to devise a highly efficient strategy that the right contractor will provide for you. Choosing a good contractor to assist you with your home building project can mean the difference between a job well done and a complete disaster.

Another month, another opportunity to learn. This April, ProsTalk has invited another guest professional who will share his expertise in the design and construction industry.

Engineer Americo Bonde is currently working as a Senior Planning Engineer for the main contractor involved in constructing the T2 Expansion Project for the Hong Kong Airport Authority. He has over twenty (20) years of solid experience in Planning, Quality Assurance and Quality Control on various projects such as world class urban entertainment luxury resort, tunnels, viaducts, power plants, KCRC and MTRC stations, buildings and mechanical installations. Over these fruitful years, he has gained experiences in the field of Quality Assurance (Systems), Quality Control (Materials), Site Implementation, Estimating, Planning, Costing and Reporting. 

Along with ProsTalk host, Ms. Nathalie Yatco, they have discussed the factors you need to consider when finding the right contractor for your next home and residential project.

Youtube Live: Finding the Right Contractor for your Home and Residential Project

The steps below will guide you through the process of selecting a trustworthy contractor with experience working on projects similar to yours.

Finding People

Seeking successful contractors isn't an absolute science. Good contractors are difficult to spot at the start of the process, just as you can't judge a book by its cover. Don't get caught up in trying to figure out whether they're healthy or not right away. For the time being, just make a list when you come across contractors. In the following steps, you'll vet them.

It's important to keep in mind that you're recruiting people with whom you'll be spending a lot of time. You will speak with them on a regular basis on discussing your different choices. You will collaborate and make decisions on a variety of issues. If you don't connect with your contractor, the whole project could fall apart, with you bearing the brunt of the consequences.

Evaluate the contractor and their personnel. Check online to see if they've been listed negatively by a previous customer. Examine prospective contractors' social skills as you work with them. Assume you're on a first date and you're trying to figure out whether this person will make a good partner. After all, you'll be working together on both residential and home projects.

Check the Process

Costs, brands of products to be built, estimated start and finish times, and a full collection of sketches with written specifications should all be included in the contract. Get a rough run-through of their work process before you hire any contractor. Not only will this give you an idea of what to expect when the actual project starts, it will also show you how well they work. 

Below is a list of questions that you deem necessary when finding the right contractor for your project.

1. Do you have a development plan in place to save time and money?

2. Are you willing to assist with brainstorming and design?

3. Who is responsible for the necessary permits?

4. Who will be the primary point of contact in the project?

5. What is the procedure for resolving a dispute?

6. What is the timeline for your project?

Asking all of these questions, as well as any others that come to mind, will ensure that you arrive prepared and aware of what to expect. You can rate contractors based on how reliable and customer-friendly their processes are by comparing their responses.

Quality Portfolios

One of the most effective ways to assess a potential contractor is to look at their previous work. It will assist you in determining the level of quality. Most importantly, if they have completed projects similar to yours, it will give you peace of mind. 

The majority of contractors would gladly have a diverse portfolio of their jobs. The majority of this will be in the form of photographs and images. Many contractors will have a portfolio section on their website where you can look at various projects and get a sense of the problems they face and how they deal with them. 

Examine your permits, concerns, and legal records. While the process varies by state and municipality, general contractors and most subcontractors should be approved. Check for issues with the administrative boards, the BBB, and local court records. Request a copy of the contractor's license as well as the licenses of the main subcontractors that will be working on the project.

Compare Price

This is where a lot of homeowners get stuck while looking for a contractor. It is very common for homeowners to select a contractor solely on the basis of cost.

You can save money by going for the lowest bid, but the risk of bad workmanship is just too great. When assessing a contractor based on price forecasts, the most important thing to remember is to strike a balance between cost and value. What is the relationship between the importance of their services and the price they charge?

In general, don't let the cost factor sway your decision too much. If the contractor is someone you can work with, has a well-defined and detailed working process/system, has a large project portfolio, and previous clients have said good things about them, then it is highly likely that you will work with them.

When it comes to finding and hiring a contractor, particularly for a custom project, there is a lot to consider. After going through these steps, you can feel more secure in yourself, the selection process, and the contractor or builder you've chosen.

Please visit Buildeee’s pool of professionals to find the right contractor for you.