Hiring a Contractor

Choosing a contractor

Clients always say they want a job done but look for the best price. What does “best price” actually mean? Clients are told to get 3 estimates before making a decision, how do you know what is the right price? Each contractor will give their best estimate, so how do you choose? Does reputation matter? Does price make a difference? Is the company important? Are previous or current jobs of clients important? I’m sure you can come up with more and they are all very relevant questions.

Hiring the right contractor is actually more about a hunch, a gut feeling. We’re all human beings and when we meet a person we can usually feel if this person is the right person to be in a relationship or a friendship. So, hiring the right contractor is pretty much the same thing. If the contractor/project manager comes to you and makes a good impression, is knowledgeable and explains what is expected of him, this is how many clients choose there contractor. It’s not usually about price. Price can be misleading and you normally don’t get what you pay for. Under bid or over bid is a sign of a contractor/project manager who doesn’t understand the job. Don’t forget the contractor has to make money and if giving you a low price gets him the job so will the materials he uses be affected and he may also put his less qualified guys to do the job. Jobs may take longer then was quoted to you etc… Of course you’d never know till you hire him.

The most expensive estimate or the middle estimate has its challenges as well. Don’t choose them till you fully understand what the project manager is telling you what he’s going to do. The middle estimate may end up being more expensive then the more expensive estimate, it’s understanding what each will do, how the job will be done and how qualified the guys being used for the job? Remember the rule “ buyer beware”. Most project managers add there commission to the price he quotes you. This is how he makes his money.

Remember, when hiring a contractor/project manager, he must be registered with the CSLB (Contractors State License Board). A project manager is normally a salesperson and must be finger printed and checked if he has any sort of a criminal record. The project manager must have on there person a card from the CSLB and show it to the client before giving any estimate. If they don’t have a card then they must leave and or be reported to the CSLB and file a complaint against the company that sent them. This is for your protection. CSLB website is www.cslb.ca.gov