Choosing a Concrete Contractor
While “Do It Yourself” projects are a great way to cost-effectively improve your home, there are still times that require a professional. Most anyone can mix concrete, but installing it is another issue.
If you are strapped for time, perhaps not the most experienced repairman, creative person, or need a structurally important repair or major addition, it may be time to call a professional concrete contractor to ensure you get the best possible results. However, it is worth taking the time to research contractors in your area to ensure that you get the most value for your money. Here are a few tips to help you choose a concrete contractor.
Know thy project
Before you start making calls, think about the type of project or projects that you would like to accomplish. Different contractors may specialize in different types of construction. Decide on the project you want done, whether it is a concrete foundation for a new addition, a patio, a garage floor, repairs or any number of other things.
Also, consider whether it makes sense to combine projects or repairs you had been putting off while you are hiring a contractor. You may be able to reduce the cost of individual projects if you have the contractor complete a few at the same time. If there are repairs you had planned on doing yourself, consider having the contractor complete these as well. They will most likely be able to do the job at the same time and may help you avoid costly future repairs if the issue involves structural damage.
Where to look
As with most service professionals, your best bet is to ask your friends, family and neighbors for referrals. If you live in an area with similar houses and are looking to decorate or repair concrete in your home, it is likely that someone else has encountered the same issue. Gather a few names, and then do some research. Most companies, even small ones, have a website and online presence that provides at least basic information. An online search will likely give at least some background and may even yield reviews from past clients. If you cannot find any information it is possible they are a fly by night operation and can easily dissapear if there is an issue.
Deciding on a contractor
Before committing to a project, meet with the contractor, preferably at your home where they can give you their opinion of the project and an estimated cost. Look for someone that is professional and answers your questions directly. Most contractors will come from another job site, so do not be put off if they do not look extremely professional. Instead, make sure that you feel comfortable with their estimate of your project and that they will follow through with your ideas. Look at photos of their work and see if they have your style and general concept from a similar project. Search them on www.concreteideas.com and each contractor has a full image gallery of thier work.
You do not want to work with someone that will not listen to you, instead following their own vision. Especially for bigger projects, ask for referrals from other clients who have had similar projects. Once you decide on a contractor, sign a contract that includes details of the project, estimated price, explanation of the process for any additional charges, timeline for construction and any other details you require. Keep a copy for your records in case of any disputes.