Concrete is a versatile material with a wide and growing number of uses; the possibilities for homeowners, contractors and businesses are endless. While previously concrete was used just for sidewalks and driveways and walls, the newest innovation is concrete used as furniture—benches, planters, fire pits and more. A concrete project can easily turn into a disaster if an unqualified professional is handling the job. Selecting the right contractor to do your concrete work requires taking the time to do your homework so that in the end you will save time and money.

Research & Due Diligence

The research stage is vital and shouldn’t be rushed. If you choose the right contractor for the job, you will save time and money, plus have the peace of mind that the job will be done correctly the first time. Ask your contractor for references and check them. If they are local, drive by past the property to see firsthand the work performed. Ask the contractor to delineate his process end to end. Most importantly, if you are doing an expensive and big job, make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. This will save you if you run into problems. Also take note how long it takes the contractor to get back to you with the answers to your questions, and whether they seem reluctant to answer. If something feels funny, cross them off the list and move to the next one.

Get Written Estimates & Quotes

Get a written quote. When you are ready to move forward with a contractor, make sure they write out everything they are going to be doing for your job and also how much it is going to cost. The agreement should map out each cost, the time frame for each step of the process, and the cost for any other materials that you are responsible for. Taking your time to compare estimates will help you find the best person for the job. Realize that lowest cost is not always the perfect choice when selecting a contractor. Ideally, you want to get the best price possible, but you also want to make sure you are using a contractor that inspires confidence, not fear.

Review & Sign Contract

Once you find your dream contractor, it is time to review the contract and sign. Make sure you go over the contract a few times and if there is anything you don’t understand, ask for an explanation. You need to both be on the same page when it comes time to perform the job.Verbal agreements are a problem: you can easily forget conversations from weeks ago or confuse the conversations you have had with different contractors. The written contract also helps you to be sure that you are up to date on what is happening. If for some reason the contractor falls behind or tries to change the story, you have the original contract to refer to.

The best advice when searching for a contractor is due diligence. Take your time to ask, research, explain and confirm the details.

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