6 tips for choosing a contractor

There comes a lot of times in life that you need a contractor. When you need house repair, you need a caprenter contractor. When your bowl was clogged, you need a plumber contractor. When you need a repair on your computer, you need a computer technician which is also a contractor.

The most important step in any renovation or repair is finding the right contractor. Choosing the contractor is key to the success of the project, no matter what the project is.

Getting someone who is reliable, honest, and skilled can spare you from remodeling nightmares. Here’s how you can choose the best contractor for your job.

Get references. Ask for a list of recent customers from your prospect contractors, then call them and find out if they were satisfied with the work done to them.

Get second opinions. Ask your friends and relatives if they can refer you to a reliable contractor. You can also ask the people in your organization or community for some recommendations. You can also search for the internet for some reviews done by people who had experience of their work.

Don’t go by price alone. One of the big mistakes people make in choosing their contractor is simply by price. The cheaper the price, the more it appeals to them. Get at least three estimates or quotes in writing for comparison. These should include all the materials, labor, and verbal promises people made. Be suspicious if someone offers to do the job for much less than the other estimates.

Learn the signs of fraud: Beware of contractors who:

  • Go door-to-door looking for customers or drive an unmarked van in your place
  • Ask you to pay the entire cost of a job upfront
  • Encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs
  • You can only reach through a limited number of options like answering machine
  • Quote you a price that’s vastly different from other contractor’s estimates
  • Make outrageous promises and pressure you for a quick decision

When you are ready to sign for a contract, make sure it includes all work details, warranties, time schedule, the quality of building or repair materials, and costs. Fill in all the blanks in the contract. Never leave empty spaces.

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Tyrone is a passionate financial literacy advocate. He started this blog on November 2008 when he watched The Secret which talked about Law of Attraction because he wanted to become a millionaire and wanted to know how a millionaire acts. At the age of 26, he achieved his first million. To find out more about him, click here or follow him at Instagram

10 responses on “6 tips for choosing a contractor

  1. Tyrone – I’m impressed at your age you know so much about contractors and their ways! When did you purchase your property, and how is the Manila real estate market doing?

    It seems that elsewhere in the region, the property mrket is doing quite well!

    Best, Sam

    • I’ve deal with some contractors already in the past during my first job in an asset management company. My boss would instruct me to get quotes from contractors and then compare them in an excel sheet format and present it to him with my suggestion and recommendation. Of course, I have to defend why I chose the particular contractor.

  2. A couple months ago I had to hire a plumber because we had some huge issues with our plumbing. When I looked at the price of the bill I was shocked! Thanks to your tips, I will be able to find a contractor at a good price the next time I am in need. Thanks!

    Money Hackers Blog Ambassador

  3. Good post. Another thing to think about is payment schedule. I never pay much upfront and prefer to steer them to invoicing so I can pay net 30 or net 60. Even if they ask for half in the beginning and half at the end, I always try to negotiate for only 25% before, 25% midway, and 50% at completion.

    • Nice negotiation on payment terms. I think it also depend on the contractor. Some contractors are too small that they cannot accomodate projects without much upfront fees.

      Based on my experience before, the average payment term is 50% down of the contract price before they can get the project started (for the raw materials to be used) and the remaining 50% when the job is finished.

  4. Hey Tyrone – Interesting previous work you’ve had. Thnx for commenting on my site regarding the weak US currency. You actually bring up a great point about OFW remmitances since the US is a big employer.

    I responded, and asked you a number of questions hopefully you can provide the answers to.


  5. In choosing contractor, one essential skill we need is negotiotion skills; such as negotiating the price. With good negotiation skill, one can get quality work with very competitive price. One way to back the negotiation is to know the market and what others are offering. So before engaging a contractor, do some homeworks, try surveying what other contractors are offering in term of quality, work, skill, material and of course pricing.

    Zen Foo

  6. In addition to that it is important to specify the work in as much detail as possible to avoid arguments with the contractor. I cannot emphasize enough that the longer the specifications list – how tedious this can be – the less chance on disputes with the contractor.

  7. I also noted that contractors that specialize in certain areas or subdivisions will usually give the lowest quotations for those areas. It also helps that the people in the area and vicinity can actually vouch for the work of a contractor that operates in that area(or point out shabby workmanship), and you get to see their actual work up close.

    I would also like to add that when you find a good contractor, you should also build a strong business relationship with them by paying them promptly for a job well done, etc. Good and reliable contractors are hard to find and it would be best to make sure they would be glad to handle future jobs. Having a good contractor in my team really helps make real estate investing easier and stress free!

  8. Homeowners can save a lot of money by educating themselves on the plumbing process before hiring a contractor or attempting any serious DIY. This will help them get the best value on their project, communicate clearly with plumbing professionals, and ensure that they really are using construction best practices.

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