Custom Home – How to Get Started (Part 6) – Picking the Right Contractor
Building a custom home is a complicated, confusing, and sometimes overwhelming process. Understanding the steps is the first step to making it easier.
Catch up on this series “Custom Home – How to Get Started” with the following links:
Part one – Part two – Part three – Part four – Part five – Part six – Part seven
So how do you decide which contractor you want to hire? A big factor is how they will approach the project and conduct business. Here are some questions to ask during the interview.
- Reputation – What is your past experience with projects of this type? Did you stay on budget? How do you deal with unhappy clients? How many projects have you done like this one?
- Schedule – When can you start? How many projects will you have going at the same time? How long will it take? How much of your devoted time will my project get on a daily / weekly basis? When do you start work each day? When do you stop work each day?
- Project management – Who will be on site every day? Do they curse or smoke? How do they relate with the subcontractors – manage by yelling or with respect? Can I ask them questions? Will they know the answers?
- Communication – Will we have weekly meetings? Do you communicate best by email or phone? Can I call you at night or on weekends? Do you take notes in our meetings and issue minutes?
- Decisions – Do you have a process in place to help me stay on track with decisions that need to be made? Do you go give me options of places to make selections or do I have to shop at one place? What if I want to supply something I find at an antique store or on sale?
- Changes – What is your change order process? How much do you charge as a mark up on change orders? Who do I tell I want to make a change? How do you document the change?
- Mistakes – Who do I need to tell if I don’t like something? What if something is not like I thought it would turn out?
- Billings – How do you handle invoices? Do I get to see everything you paid for and how much you are marking it up? How do you calculate the fee?
- Project Closeout – How do you finish a project? Do I get to do a punch list? What happens in a month if I find something wrong that I miss in punch list? Do you walk me through everything and show me how to use the new systems? Will you be available in the future if there are problems? Will you provide operating manuals in an organized form? Do you provide a list of subcontractors and phone numbers so I can contact them in the future? Will you give me marked up plans and pictures showing installation for future renovations?