Consider more than price

Hiring a contractor can be one of the most anxiety-producing tasks of any house project. First, you’re likely looking at spending a lot of money on your project, so of course you want someone “good.” And second, horror stories about contractors abound among home owners — tales of contractors who take the deposit and run, for instance. Or who start the work but sometimes, inexplicably, don’t show up for days on end.


There are several steps you can take to find good (meaning reliable and affordable) contractors – including getting several bids, meeting in person to see how well  you get along, dropping in on a current work site, and carefully checking references. But once you have narrowed the field, don’t go with the very cheapest bid you get. Consider paying a little extra to get a contractor with architectural experience.


Here are the top three reasons why:


1.      He’ll better understand your vision. Contractors with background in architecture speak the same language as the designers. That means he’ll have a better overall sense of what you and your client are really shooting for and be able to communicate more effectively with the designers, the client, and the sub-contractors. End result: a more unified team working on your client’s dream.


2.      He’ll be better able to deal with unexpected problems. The fact that that your contractor understands both the aesthetic and functional goals of the project means that if a problem arises, he can help find solutions that support those goals.


3.      He’ll pay better attention to detail. Schooled in design, contractors with architectural background tend to insist that every element of the remodel or new building match the blueprint’s specifications and the highest standards of craftsmanship. Ultimately that means you’ll end up with a more beautiful, finished product.


How to find a contractor with architectural background? The same way you’d find a general contractor. Ask friends, family, and business contacts for recommendations. Or call your local chapter of the AIA. You’ll be glad you took the time to find someone with a just a little more expertise.