The following is an article that recently appeared in the Nashua, NH Telegraph. It was written by our build construction supervisor, Steve Manning. Steve is the constructions operation officer at Yankee Barn Homes. To say he was invaluable would be making a huge understatement!
DO YOUR RESEARCH WHEN FINDING THE RIGHT BUILDER
“With spring around the corner and temperatures on the rise, now is the perfect time to start planning a home improvement project. Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to take this time to carefully plan and ask the right questions before hiring a builder.
Choosing the right builder can often be a daunting experience, thanks to the vast number of builders now looking for work. The good news is a little preparation and planning can make all the difference.”
Find a dependable builder:
Drive around in the area and look for construction on similar homes. Stop and ask for the builder.
If he or she is not interested, ask them for other names. Call your area’s Home Builders & Remodelers Association and visit a web site associated with it in your state (do this by searching Home Builders & Remodelers and add your state).
Check local lumber yards and ask for contractor’s names.
Often, they will have a bulletin board for builders to leave their calling cards. And don’t forget word of mouth – ask your neighbors who they might recommend.
Before meeting a builder:
Prior to scheduling a meeting with a prospective builder, be sure to have the following in order:
* A plan and project specifications if possible. Many decisions will be made as you go, but make as many as you are capable of beforehand.
* Be prepared to talk about your schedule and be realistic. A good builder may be booked six months in advance.
* Bring the decision makers. Never schedule a meeting without the decision makers present.
What to look for:
* Does this builder present themselves in an experienced and professional manner?
* Does this builder take notes and seems genuinely interested and engaged in the conversation and quoting process?
* Does this builder ask a lot of questions in order to get a better feel for what you want? Or, does the builder interject more of their own desires into the conversation? The builder should provide intelligent ideas, creativity and ask questions that lead to answers.
* Does this builder have a business card or company letterhead? Did he or she arrive in a company vehicle that is lettered and professional?
* Do you actually like him or her? A good contractor shouldn’t be pushy, arrogant or intimidating. Choose someone who listens to your ideas. Choose someone who is reasonably relaxed, but keeps the meeting moving and on target. Try to maintain an open mind and listen to suggestions. You are the major decision maker, but a good part of what you pay for is his/her knowledge and experience.
Questions to ask:
* Do you have any references I could contact? (Always make the calls to check.)
* Are you fully insured and licensed, including workman’s compensation, and could I get a copy of all those certificates?
* Are all of your employees able to legally work in the United States?
* How many homes have you provided general contractor services for?
* Would you be able to provide me a quote and timeline and stick to it?
To select a builder, begin by thinking about yourself. What kind of customer are you? What is your knowledge or understanding of home construction?
Discuss this with the potential contractors. Above all, avoid the temptation to micro-manage a project you have hired someone else to do. The best builders love what they do and it shows from the very first handshake.