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We are planning to enclose our patio in the backyard because we hardly use this area. Any ideas on builders info like hiring someone for the roof, electric, frame, etc. There is no plumbing involved just electricity. Let me know if you have any ideas how I should start this project so I can save at the same time and enjoy the comfort of this new room.
Don't rely on word of mouth to choose your contractor! I've met several people (in grocery lines, and most recently when renting a car) that hired people based on unofficial recommendations and they ended up paying more than twice what they were quoted.
First, ask your friends and neighbors who they've used. Then, please be sure your contractor of choice is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau bbb.org. Ask for references and actually make the calls to check them out. Amateur contractors often get friends to vouch for them. So check out their addresses as compared to the contractor addresses on www.dogpile.com reverse lookup or actually go and interview the references if they sound too cozy and you're suspicious.
Oftentimes you can get a contractor that does the job by hiring subcontractors that he/she trusts, but be sure to check out everyone involved. Any contractor worth the money they demand will have no qualms about your checking references and the BBB. And remember, sometimes the cheapest is the most expensive. I recently met a man (who checked out personal references but not the BBB) that ended up paying three times what his addition was originally quoted because he didn't check the BBB. He had to hire additional contractors because his original guy had the companies do the work and didn't pay them from the money the original customer fronted. Many contractors hire sub-contractors and include it in the original bid for your job. Check everyone out, check references, and if everything is above-board and respectable, choose the best company with the best record and lowest price. Check, check and double check!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to obtain a general remodeling contractor for this job. Ask other people who have done this kind of work who they used. Obtain a minimum of three bids. Check out every reference the contractor provides. You can also check out contractors with the BBB. In some states these companies have to obtain licenses. If you live in one of those states, you can contact the licensing department and find out if there are any complaints against this contractor. Once you have done this take the lowest bid. Sometimes a contractor will be so busy he'll bid high in order to make the job worthwhile.
If you attempt to hire all the different professionals yourself, you will find yourself bogged down in scheduling conflicts, having to check out each trade person after getting several bids from each trade, and you won't have the leverage to control job quality that a general does. A general contractor has access to trades that will appear on the job as promised. A general also guarantees the work. Even if a trade won't perform or goes out of business, the general will get the work done. General contracts are worth the little extra they charge, and may in fact be able to get the job done a lot cheaper than you can by trying to general it yourself.
You can go to homereferralbiz.com. You can find out if there is a referral business in your area. The companies offer their services free to the consumer. They recommend businesses/contractors that they have done background checks on, spoken with previous customers who have us`ed their services, etc.
Look for an association in your area, usually in larger cities, called NARI. It stands for National Association of the Remodeling Industry. All its members have gone through classes and testing and they uphold the highest standards for remodeling. Besides, they have years of experience since that is part of the testing. My husband is a member here in Nebraska and we can't recommend it highly enough.
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