Peter Grenier knows hiring the right contractor can help transform any “DIY” project into “DONE.”
And he’s built a reputation as someone who’s up for the task. In fact, Peter Grenier started in Massachusetts in the restoration and remodeling industry at the age of 16 years old before starting his only construction company. This work included serving as the Chief Engineer for the historic Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA. Now, for over a decade, the Bedford, NH, native has owned and operated Wicked Good Woodworks. The company supplies and installs cabinetry, but he also continues to renovate and build single- and multi-family homes.
Few have more construction experience than Peter Grenier. That’s why he knows more than most that not just any helping hand will do. While a professional contractor can eliminate headaches and stress, an inexperienced or unqualified one can complicate issues. It’s important to choose wisely.
Fortunately, Peter Grenier of Massachusetts continues to help. But, instead of a hammer or a drill, he’s offering advice. Using this expertise, the seasoned construction professional shares seven tips for hiring the perfect contractor.
The most important item in your toolbox might just be a computer mouse. Start with a simple Google search. An entire Rolodex is at your fingertips. Scroll through prospective companies in your area, looking for services rendered and before-and-after photos. Try apps like Houzz, Thumbtack, or Angi too.
Phone a friend. Whether it’s friends, family, or neighbors, someone in your life has likely hired a contractor at some point. Draw on these first-hand accounts, but be wary. Peter Grenier cautions against weighing this experience too heavily. Rely mostly on independent reviews online and your own research.
After you’ve narrowed down your shortlist, talk to prospective candidates. Call three to five contractors to discuss your project, expectations, and timeline. This is your opportunity to ask questions. But the main objective is to gauge how you feel after speaking in person.
Schedule an appointment
If a contractor checks all your boxes, set up a time to meet. Peter Grenier always recommends having this at your house. With them, you can walk the property. In addition to allowing the contractor to demonstrate their knowledge, it helps ensure an accurate estimate since they can see the work required.
Now is the time to request qualifications. Verify the contractor has valid insurance and is licensed. Check for any job-specific accreditations or certifications needed. You should also ask for references from recently-completed jobs.
A contractor will be working for you. They should want your business. Go in with this mindset, soliciting bids from several companies. Yet money alone shouldn’t be the driving force. In reality, Peter Grenier of Massachusetts encourages you to throw out any extremely low estimates. This might be an indicator of inferior work or shortcuts.
Sign a contract
Put it in writing. Draw up a contract that details every step of the proposed project. At a minimum, this should include materials used, start date, projected completed date, proof of insurance, and payment schedule. Don’t worry about sowing seeds of mistrust. This is about creating clear, definitive expectations. A contract protects both parties.