. Set up meetings
From your research, carry out interviews and get several bids; at least three.
Consider the cost estimate keeping in mind that the most expensive is not an indicator of the best workmanship while really low estimates could lead to use of substandard materials and poor service.
Enquire when construction is likely to start and the projected completion time and whether the company will work on the project or sub-contract.
Ask, ask, ask; you simply cannot ask enough questions so keep going until you feel contented that they are the best for the job.
. Get it in writing
For future reference, let all correspondence be in writing right from the first inquiry. Use emails instead of direct phone calls.
Even if it was a personal reference, avoid word of mouth promises since in case of a problem, it will be your word against the contractor.
Before construction commences or the first payment is made, sign an official contract and ensure it contains the following:-
a) Extensive breakdown of materials, equipment and labour costs.
b) Commencement date, dates when certain works will be carried out and completion date.
c) Payment terms and due dates.
It is important to note that construction comes with a lot of uncertainties which can result in changes in estimated timelines and costs.
You should therefore set aside 5 to 10 per cent of your total budget for unforeseen costs