So, you have decided to start a new natural stone project. Maybe you want to introduce new tiles in your living room or use travertine to redecorate the swimming pool. This is normally a complicated job that requires the expertise of a professional contractor. The ideal contractor will complete the job quickly and at an affordable cost. But how do you get that contractor? Here are tips on how you can choose a contractor for your luxury natural stone project.
1. Receive Recommendations
You need to gather a list of about 20 contractors in your area with the right skills. Since you will be deleting some contractors from that list for various reasons, it’s best to have a wider pool to choose from. You can ask homeowners in your neighborhood to recommend people who worked on their projects. Place greater emphasis on recommendations brought in by homeowners who recently renovated their homes.
Online sources can also be a great way of getting ideal recommendations. You can do a local search on Google or Bing. While doing the online research, focus on the reviews that each contractor gets from their previous clients. You can also post on social media where you ask your followers and friends to recommend contractors.
When you have many contractors, you can easily ask for samples of their previous work. It is advisable to stay away from contractors who don’t have sufficient online information.
2. Make a Comparison
Once you have received enough recommendations, it is time to select one contractor. To do this, you will need to look at each contractor’s portfolio. While some contractors may have glowing reviews, you need somebody who can work on your specific type of natural stone project. Consequently, you will be looking for a contractor who has samples of natural stone renovation projects.
Apart from experience, you should also look for instances of creativity. You want somebody who can take your ideas and convert them into something practical and luxurious. If somebody has created a unique natural stone project before, then they may be ideal for your new project.
If it is possible, you can also visit the place of their previous projects. Usually, you should look for projects that were done within the last 12 months. If it’s not possible to visit the physical site, you can request pictures from their websites. All in all, the best portfolio should contain at least eight samples of their previous work. The samples should illustrate sketches, designs, reprints, and how the project was completed. Also, compare the costs from one contractor to another.
Contractors with few projects should be avoided. At the same time, if a contractor submits photos that are not very clear or incomplete, you should stay away from them. It’s also a good idea to remember that contractors will only provide their best projects as samples.
3. Request for Certification and Licensing
After you have collected the recommendations and compared their portfolios, you will narrow down your list to about five contractors. You still need to eliminate some contractors from that list. Therefore, you should start asking for certifications and licenses from each contract. Before you do that, you need to understand the legal requirements for home construction projects. This information can be available on your community’s website.
Contractors who don’t have all the licenses or certificates should be removed from the list. This is to ensure that your natural stone project is done within the legal framework. It also ensures that the safety of workers and family members is guaranteed during the project. Even if the contractor has all the certifications, you should also request evidence of liability insurance.
Both the main contractor and the subcontractors must have insurance. The insurance protects your investment if it is destroyed during the renovation project. Consequently, you should direct that each of them should provide copies of insurance policies. Make sure that the insurance policies are current and valid.
You should immediately stop considering a contractor who doesn’t have the right credentials. You should also be careful with people who take too long to submit these documents. This shows that something is wrong with the credentials or licensing.
4. Ask for References
Once you are left with about three contractors, you need to check their references. A professional, experienced, and skilled contractor will always come with many references. The references will list various attributes of certain projects, such as the addresses, names, and previous clients’ contact details. You can also ask the client to provide the exact date when they completed the project.
Once you have all this information at hand, you can start calling every reference that is provided. If there are more than ten references provided, you should only call those ones from the most recent projects. While you are talking with the reference, you should take detailed notes. Also, try to see if any of the references can allow you to visit their home to view the natural stone project that was done.
This is the perfect time to ask some critical questions. Start by asking the reference if the contractor completed the project as scheduled. Pay special attention to any reservations raised by the previous customer. At the same time, get an honest opinion regarding the total cost of the project.
Generally, you should not work with contractors who have very few references. Also, check the dates when the references worked with the contractor. If there is a significant time gap between projects, that means that the contractor doesn’t do exemplary work. However, you can seek further clarification from the contractor. Maybe they were sick or had some engagements that kept them from taking one for the projects.
Once you have talked with all the references, you can now make your final determination. Compare all the projects and review their notes that you took when you were talking to the references. You may not end up selecting the best contractor, but you will definitely avoid unqualified natural stone project contractors.
Your natural stone project will only succeed if you select the right contractor. This is a process that can take several weeks, and that is why you need to take your time. We hope you can use these tips when selecting your next natural stone project’s contractor.