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Hiring a contractor to oversee your home remodel or upgrade is one of the first, and most important, steps in any renovation process. However, the process of getting contractor bids can be a bit confusing—especially for first-time renovators.
Here are some simple tips for gathering and comparing contractor bids to start your upcoming remodel on the right track.
1. Figure Out Which Type of Contractor You Need for Your Home Renovation Project
A general contractor is typically responsible for providing and coordinating all of the labor, materials, and equipment needed for a construction project. From complete home remodels to minor upgrades, a general contractor can oversee a home renovation from conception to completion. Hiring a general contractor may be a good idea for many large scale projects such as bathroom or kitchen remodels.
Depending on the details and scope of your project, you may want to hire a specialized contractor to complete certain home improvement projects. Common specializations include:
Before you ask for contractor bids, consider the needs of your project and whether general or specialized contractors are better suited to your renovation.
2. Write a Detailed Description of Your Project’s Needs
Part of learning how to get a bid from a contractor is researching how to write a great project description. If you’re not a writer, don’t fret! Project descriptions aren’t very long, and if you follow these steps, you’ll be well prepared to write a great one.
Begin by drafting a detailed description of the scope, size, and needs of your remodel.
As you learn how to get bids from contractors, you might find that the more descriptive you are, the more responses you’ll draw from passionate professionals. Try to include the following in your proposal:
To help you get started, here’s an example of a project description:
“Family of four seeking to add solar panels to our 1,820 square foot home in San Diego, California. Panels must generate enough electricity to power our pool heater in addition to the home. Intended project completion date is June 1, 2018. We are flexible regarding the manufacturer’s solar cell materials, but are firm on budget. Please submit your best offer.”
Although this proposal is short, it hits the key marks, and even something this concise may secure a variety of contractor bids.
Pro Tip: A longer, more detailed proposal may lead to greater satisfaction at the time of completion—especially for those with a very specific vision. If you have details in mind, be sure to include them in your project description.
3. Questions to Keep in Mind as You Accept Bids
Now that you’ve drafted a proposal, it’s time to solicit your bids. As you begin accepting bids, keep the following in mind to help narrow down the pool of contractor candidates:
Get at least three contractor bids to give yourself more options—this will help you hire the right person for the job. Be sure that all of your contractor bids are in writing, as an officially documented agreement just in case you need to have that record if a disagreement comes up.
Pro Tip: If you are in search of the right contractor and want to start requesting bids, learn more about how to find a contractor here.
4. Comparing Contractor Bids
Once you’ve received multiple bids, it’s time to select the one that suits your project best. Here’s how:
Pro Tip: When choosing between contractor bids, don’t make price the only defining factor; you’ll need to carefully weigh additional considerations, such as reliability, creativity and flexibility as well (depending on your specific project).
Finding Contractors with Finance of America Home Improvement
Start your search for the right contractor for your home today. Our Find a Contractor page makes the process easier and allows you to filter by:
Finance of America Home Improvement works with a network of contractors who have agreed to follow our guidelines, and to only be paid after you’ve signed off on your project.
Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with using a contractor who is a good fit for your home and specific needs, and get started on a home renovation you can be proud of.