Spring is here, meaning it’s time to start thinking about all those projects you’ve been putting off all winter. Suppose one of those projects is a backyard makeover. In that case, you’re going to need to find a good contractor to make your vision a reality.
If you don’t have any personal recommendations, here are six tips to help you choose the right contractor for your backyard project:
Prioritize Your Projects
Before looking for a contractor, take a step back and prioritize your projects. What do you want to accomplish immediately, and what can wait? This will help you determine your budget and timeline, which are critical factors in choosing the right contractor.
For instance, if you’re dying to have a new swimming pool in your backyard this summer, that will be a priority project. You will then have to start looking for professionals specializing in pool construction in your area. Of course, you’ll also need to factor in the cost and how long it will take to build the pool, so you can plan accordingly.
Let’s say your plan is to build a pool, but it is not yet quite sure what design you want. In this case, you might want to find a contractor specializing in pool design and construction. This way, you can get some ideas from them and have them help you create the perfect backyard oasis.
Now that you know the kind of backyard project you want to pursue, it is time to start looking for recommendations. An excellent place to start your search is by asking friends, family, and neighbors if they can recommend a contractor. Once you have a few names, you can check online reviews to get an idea of what others have experienced working with each contractor.
It’s also a good idea to them for references from past clients. Talk to their past clients and inquire about their experience working with the contractor. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to work with them.
Don’t forget to check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if anyone filed any complaints against the contractors you plan on hiring. This last step will help ensure you’re making the best possible choice.
Get Several Bids
After narrowing down your choices, it’s time to get some bids. Ask each contractor for a detailed estimate including the cost of labor and materials and a timeline for the project.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the bid, such as what is included and what is not. You want to be sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at the offers.
Remember that the lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid. Consider the entire picture, including the contractor’s experience, reputation, and reviews, when making your decision.
Schedule a Consultation
Once you’ve done your research and have a list of potential contractors, it’s time to start narrowing things down. The best way to do this is by scheduling consultations with each one. This will allow you to meet them in person, ask more detailed questions about the project, and get a feel for their personality.
Be sure to pay attention to how well they listen to your ideas and whether or not they seem genuinely excited about the project. You want to ensure you’re working with someone invested in making your vision a reality.
Don’t forget to ask for a written estimate during the consultation. This will allow you to compare the bids side by side and choose the one that is best for you.
It’s time to start interviewing contractors. This is your opportunity to get all the information you need to make an informed decision. Some questions you can ask include are as follows:
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they carry liability insurance?
- What kind of warranty do they offer on their work?
- Can they provide a list of past clients?
- How much experience do they have with projects like yours?
- When will they be able to start work on your project?
- What is their estimated completion date?
- How much will the project cost?
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with your decision. After all, this is a big investment, and you want to ensure you’re working with a contractor who can get the job done right.
Get it in Writing
After selecting a contractor, get everything in writing before work begins. This includes a detailed contract outlining the work scope, materials to be used, start and finish dates, and payment terms. Having everything in writing will help prevent misunderstandings down the road and give you something to refer back to if there are any problems with the project.
Don’t sign anything until you’re sure you understand and agree with everything that is in the contract. If there is something you’re not comfortable with, bring it up with the contractor before you sign on the dotted line. Lastly, ask for a copy of the signed contract for your records.
Making improvements to your home can be a fun and rewarding experience. But finding the right contractor for the job can be daunting. By following these simple tips, you can rest assured that you’ll find a qualified professional who can turn your backyard dreams into reality.