1. Get Multiple Bids
Get bids from at least three different contractors. This is more than just an opportunity to get the best deal—it’s a chance to meet the contractors and get a sense of who they are.
You don’t have to just rely on your gut, either. If a contractor can’t explain to you what they think needs to be done and how they will tackle that project, don’t hire them. If they aren’t prepared to give you different bids based on materials and need, don’t hire them. If a contractor seems to contradict themselves, or if they come unprepared for your meeting, without samples and quotes, don’t hire them.
Your masonry contractor is going to be in your life for a period of time. You want to hire someone you feel good about on every level, which is why casting a wide net is so critical.
2. Get References
The masonry contractor you hire has to be someone trustworthy and reliable. A professional and experienced contractor will be able to provide you with contact information of happy former customers, eager to act as a reference to their work.
If a contractor can’t connect you with people who can serve as a work reference, they may have left a trail of unhappy customers behind them!
3. Ask Questions
You’re hiring a masonry contractor because, presumably, working with brick professionally isn’t something you’re an expert in. To that end, ask your masonry contractor any questions you may have about the project, the process, the materials they will use, and how they work.
An experienced contractor can explain everything without leaving you feeling like you’re in over your head. Being able to communicate with your contractor is the first step towards an end result that will make you both happy.
Not sure what to ask? Here are some options to get you started:
- Can you provide references?
- Who will be managing the project?
- Do you hire subcontractors?
- Will you match my brick?
- Do you have insurance?
- Do you use a contract?
- Will you clean up after the project is finished?
4. Don’t Pick by Price Alone
Sometimes a very low bid from a contractor might be too tempting to resist, but always compare that low bid to others you’ve received. If the low bid seems too good to be true, it might be—giving too low a bid can be a sign of a contractor willing to cut corners to get a job done.
5. Check with the Better Business Bureau
Contacting the Better Business Bureau about a contractor you’re eager to work with is a fast way to find out if other customers have filed complaints against them. A complaint doesn’t always mean your contractor was in the wrong, but it’s good to have information like this before making your final decision.
6. Make Sure They Are Licensed, Insured, and Bonded
Make sure you ask every contractor you interview for bids for proof of their license and insurance. It’s illegal for a masonry contractor to work on jobs without a license, and insurance provides both you and the contractor’s employees with security. A bond gives you protection should the contractor fail to complete the job.
7. Set a Timeline
Before your professional begins work, find out how long they anticipate the job will take. Learning this timeline doesn’t just manage your own expectations, it sets the bar for a reasonable period of time in which you expect the project to be completed. If a contractor won’t set a timeline or give an estimate as to how long a project will take, that’s a red flag.
8. Get It in Writing
Once you do find a contractor who you think is a good fit for the job, make sure that you break down the details of what you expect in a contract. Critical items to include in a contract are:
- The original bid
- Itemized cost of materials and labor
- Completion date
- Payment options