If you’re about to embark on a home renovation, you’re probably in the middle of trying to get contractor bids. You likely started out by asking friends who they’ve used—or even read over reviews on Angie’s List or a similar service. Now the fun begins—having contractors come over, assess the project, give you a timeline, and finally a bid on project cost.

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While it can be tempting to go with the lowest bid, be sure that the contractor truly understands the scope of work. Be certain to get a detailed write-up of the project and how the contractor plans to implement it every step of the way. Compare the project plans from each contractor to be sure that they match up. While the process might be slightly different, the major steps to get to the end project should be mostly the same.

If you notice any big gaps in one proposal, ask about it. It’s possible that the contractor overlooked it or that it’s something that you don’t really need. It’s better to ask questions now than to wait until you’re well into the project.

And be sure to get a timeline. If you really need the timeline to be firm, build language into your contract that states it needs to be done by a certain date—and set the ramifications should that date be surpassed. Of course you’ll need to be reasonable—does any project really end on time? Presume that you’ll need an extra week “cushion” for every 4-weeks that a project is scheduled to run.

If you have the opportunity to hire a project manager or foreman with the job, you’ll make your life easier—but this isn’t always necessary and it does cost more money. If you have multiple people needed on a project (electrician, plumber, carpenter) it can be easier to have the foreman locate all of these specialists—then you won’t have to search for them!

We have a list of recommended vendors that are tried and true, and who we know consistently do a good job for our clients (and for us!). If you need help finding the right contractor or specialist to work on your home project, give us a call.