Tips for Hiring a Northern Virginia Contractor

February 12, 2018

Doing your due diligence before hiring your contractor is not only smart but a timesaver. Price should not be the only factor when making the final decision on who will renovate your home.

Your home is where you spend most of your time, and you don’t want poor quality construction details staring you in the face, day after day. Make sure you take the proper steps before choosing a contractor. Check out our tips below on how to choose the right contractor for your home remodel! 



Image via Lensis Builders, Inc.


1. Plan Ahead 

This is the most important item before you even approach a contractor. Work with a professional designer or architect who can come up with a comprehensive plan to show your contractor so that he knows exactly what you have planned for your space. An added bonus is to work with an actual design/build firm, such as Lensis Builders, so that everything can be done in one place saving time and money. 

Please bear in mind that permit drawings are not complete plans and contain limited information about the final design of your space. They provide information about the general layout and structure but have limited or no information pertaining to finishes, interior architecture, custom millwork, lighting and electrical features. This is the information that your contractor will need to give you accurate pricing before you start construction.

2. Provide a List or Photos of Preferences
When it comes to your finishes, fixtures, appliances and accessories, this is your bible. The price to renovate even a small bathroom can vary by tens of thousands of dollars depending on its fittings and finishes. If you can choose your plumbing fixtures, finishes and accessories ahead of time, you will save yourself and your contractor a lot of grief during the construction process by having the items on hand when he needs them and by knowing all the associated costs to install your specified items.



3. Seek Out Bids

If you have been working with a designer or architect and you have a complete set of drawings and complete specifications, ask that professional to recommend a few builders to whom you can send your plans for pricing. Also, ask your friends whether they have a contractor they have been happy with and send them your construction package to bid on as well.



4. Verify Your Contractor is Licensed & Insured

A contractor has to manage a significant crew to make your project come together, and it’s not an easy task. Think of your contractor as a composer bringing all the parts of an orchestra together to create a masterpiece. There are bound to be mishaps occasionally, so having a qualified and licensed contractor is crucial to creating a smooth construction process. 




5. Preview Your Contractor's Previous Projects 

Once you’ve bid out your project and have a contractor in mind, ask to see some of his previous jobs. Even though the contractor may be referred to you by a friend or your architect, it doesn’t hurt to get a look at his work. If you like what you see, and the owner of the other house is happy with how things turned out, there’s a good chance that you will be happy too.



 6. Interview Your Contractor
You will have to get quite close to your general contractor over the period of your project. Make sure you pick someone you trust and can communicate with. During initial meetings, ask how unexpected issues or differences might be handled. This can include change orders that will be issued by you or your designer in writing.


7. Extras Kill Budgets

Keep in mind that your contractor may not have priced some items for your renovation, such as closet organizers and bathroom accessories. Ask your contractor how they deals with extras. Some contractors use extras as an opportunity to make as much money as possible during a renovation because you are already committed to them. Fortunately, for our clients, we spend a great amount of time planning your renovation before we even break ground, so that these types of situations don't occur. 




If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page.