The Truth for Homeowners Needing Construction

The Truth for Homeowners Needing Construction

Credit: DSNews

It is typical for most homeowners to have little or no exposure to construction over the course of their lives. That is normal. 

If a homeowner bought a new home, they may not need renovations or other construction a decade or more. They very well may go the rest of their life without needing construction services.

If a homeowner bought an older house, they may hire on for one, perhaps two renovations at most over the lifetime of their home.

Unfortunately, this lack of exposure means that homeowners who need to hire contractors are at a distinct disadvantage! They have less experience with the construction process, and as a result do not know how to evaluate the multiple contractors they may be interacting with during bidding. The homeowners may not be able to compare the estimates they receive. They may not know what to anticipate throughout the construction process, or what to expect from their contractor.

No wonder it is daunting for homeowners to get a new project off the ground.

Realistically, unless someone works in the construction industry, it’s basically impossible for them to have the experience necessary to evaluate a contractor and plan for project success.

This all means that, in order for your construction project to be a success, you must find a contractor you can trust to be an advocate for you during the build process, and who understands the quality of the results you're seeking for your home.

How Do You Find Them?

Each construction company is unique in certain ways, and each construction project is custom to some degree, so it is hard for people to gain a full understanding of the process until they have seen it a few times.

This means that it is just that much more important that you prepare yourself for your construction projects by vetting your relationship and communication with your potential contractors during the bidding process - so that your project will achieve the highest degree of success possible.


1. Word of Mouth

Speak with your neighbors and friends in the area who have had construction work done on their homes and businesses. Ask them how their contractor performed, and what parts of the process they wish were handled differently. Ask them what they wished they knew before they went into the construction process. Learning lessons from others is a great way to make your process go smoother.


2. Interview your contractor

Have a list of questions that you wish to ask your potential contractors.

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Are they properly insured and licensed?
  • How many projects have they done recently in your area? Ask for them to provide references from previous clients.
  • How many projects have they done that are similar to your scope of work?

If the contractor is able to provide satisfactory responses to these questions, and handles the vetting process well, that is a good insight as to how they will handle communication during the performance of the project.


3. Don't be completely price-driven

Lowball prices you receive from certain contractors may seem too good to be true because they are. Unfortunately, the bidding process encourages some bad actors in the industry to try to secure a contract with a low bid, and then increase their margins over the course of the project with change orders. These contractors usually do not have a long track record of successful projects, and may not even be operating under the same business name as they had in the past. That is why word-of-mouth referrals from peers in your neighborhood are one of the best ways to avoid underhanded shops.

Good contractors have a long track record of successful projects, and have been operating in their areas of service for long periods of time. Because they have skilled employees on staff, they must charge reasonable fees to compensate their staff accordingly, and pay for the insurance and equipment that makes sure your project will run safely and efficiently. These overhead costs make it so that the most dependable contractors are rarely the cheapest.

What we have found is that, in construction, the old adage is very true that you get what you pay for. Quality work will cost a bit more, but is likely more cost-effective over the course of the project, considering that low-bid shops experience more cost-overruns, delays, and setbacks than honest contractors.

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