Step 1 - Forget about a contractor, get a designer.
Step 2 - Find 3 or more prospects.
Somebody in your world is remodeling or has remodeled lately. Ask friends, family, co-workers, sub-contractors, neighborhood projects, realtors, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Houzz, NextDoor
Step 3 - Check legals - Licensed and Bonded
Step 4 - Meet and Greet - initial job interview
- Are they on time?
- Communication skills?
- Is this person not only a good tradesperson but also a good business person?
Review designs - a time to listen and be listened to
- How big is your crew?
- Liability Insurance?
- Do you employees subcontractors or your own in-house people?
- How personally hands-on will you be with our project?
- How often will you be on site?
- How often will you be communicating with us?
- Will you be itemizing your estimate?
- What is your fee or percentage?
- In addition to your stated fee do your subcontractors give you kickbacks?
- Do you mark up materials?
- Can we use your discount to purchase materials directly from suppliers?
- How will the jobsite be left at the end of every day?
- Will you have issues taking direction from our designer?
- What level of residential craftsmanship are you most accustomed too?
- How do you handle change orders?
Step 5 - Ask for a “gut estimate” insuring it will neither win nor lose them the job
If the average of all gut estimates is above your budget - return to the design. If within budget - proceed to Step 6 (and proceed with other project costs: ie, engineering)
Step 6 - Check references, especially most RECENT references - ask to see the work yourself
Step 7 - When plans are complete, request formal estimates from your short list.