Know What You Want
Before you sit down with a contractor, list exactly what you want your project to include. Put items you must have (your needs) at the top of your list and those that aren't necessities (your wants) below, so that you can get a base rate for the project and add as your budget allows.
Get Two or Three Bids
You'll never know if you're getting a good price unless you ask several contractors what your project will cost. Be sure to ask each to bid on the same job-otherwise, you'll never get an oranges-to-oranges comparison. And make certain anyone you consider has the proper liability insurance.
Put It in Writing
Once you've chosen a contractor, get all the details on paper. Include what will and won't be done (such as protecting the property around the job site). Specify materials to be used right down to the brand of paint. And settle on a start and estimated completion date. Any changes to the original contract through the course of the job should be put in writing and initialed by both parties.
By Bobbie G from Rockwall, TX
Does anyone know someone in Columbia, SC that does construction work and needs work but will not be a rip off? We have been in our house for 40 plus years and need a lot of work done.
By Brenda from Columbia, SC
And always get the estimate in writing with a stipulation that there are no extra charges unless you agree to them in writing first. Also, try out a new contractor on a small project first so you see how the relationship goes.