Step 1 : Research
Talk to your sphere of influence; friends, family, coworkers. See if they have anyone they can recommend. A good referral can be all you need but best to follow up with research and weigh your options. Check sites like #Yelp, #Houzz, and #Homeadvisor. Look for 5 star reviews, these are not easy to find in construction, if you see a contractor with one its probably a good sign! Go outside the norm as well and scroll through #Instagram! Searching with the proper #hashtags can you give you instant access to portfolios, level of professionalism, and style all without making a phone call. Look for contractors who use a construction management software, this creates transparency and smoothness in your project. These software’s make it easy with daily updates, invoicing, live schedules, and photo documentation of your entire project. We at #thebuildfirm prefer #buildertrend.
Step 2: Plans
Whether your project is a new build or even a small bathroom reconfiguration, get drawings! A well-built set of plans will be a spirit guide for your team through the project. Don’t cheap out here, you may find the money saved upfront spent on costly change orders down the line. These change orders could be from not enough detail, incorrect details, or unforeseen issues that could of other been caught in the planning stages by an experienced architect. If your project doesn’t need a set of plans at least hire a draftsman to do a simple line drawing to scale. This way you and your contractor can have the same vision and understanding.
Step 3 : Design
“In designer we trust.” I cannot tell you how many times I have said this to our clients. This process can totally rack your brain and hurt your project if done incorrectly. You even may find yourself with massive doubt in the middle of your project, due to not being able to visualize. Thousands of decisions are made in planning all the way to your final walk-through, have a professional by your side to make your life easier. A designer can be a great third party in your project to help you navigate through decisions or issues that may arise. Have your designer draw up some interior elevations or even better, renderings. These can help you envision your new space and be a reference onsite for your contractor. Elevations can greatly reduce the chance of change orders or delays due to miscommunication. Also, hop on #Pintrest, find your style and have concepts to show your designer prior to interviewing.
Step 4: Finishes
Have all of your *finishes and color pallets picked out with your designer and onsite prior to your start date. During construction will be a very busy time for you. The last thing you want is to be running around store to store grabbing finishes the day they‘re needed or have your job delayed due to the rough shower valve being back-ordered. Momentum is key in construction, delays like these can severely impact your finish date. Eliminate the possibility by having everything onsite or at least on order!
** Finishes include faucets, lighting, toilets, sinks, countertops, towel bars, appliances, tile, flooring, windows, doors, etc. NOTE that most contractors do not include finishes in their estimates.
Step 5: Make the Call
Pick 4 of your ideal contractors. Call your top 3 picks and set up separate walkthroughs with each. Have the fourth in case the top 3 are too busy or are not interested in your project. Make sure to have all of your approved plans, elevations, and finishes present during the walkthrough. You will see your prospected contractor‘s eyes light up and chopping at the bit for your job. Just as you would interviewing someone for a job, ask for references, note their appearance (contractors don’t all have to be dirty with a tool belt), and most importantly go with your gut. You’re going to be seeing this person a lot in the next 1 to 3 to 6 to 12 months! Make sure you feel good about them!
Second to buying a home, a construction project can be the biggest investment you make in your life. Follow these steps to ensure that you are sleeping soundly in your beautiful home rather than crying in a broken shower. If you find that all these steps are too much to handle or too costly then you may want to consider postponing your project while you better prepare. If you want all of these steps in a one-stop-shop, give The Build Firm a call and set up an appointment today!