Selecting a Contractor

Every year the San Francisco Design Center (SFDC) has a week centered around new products and continuing education for design professionals, now called “Design San Francisco”.  Last week was Design San Francisco 2013 and since staying on top of industry trends and knowledge is an important part of my work, I made it a point to attend several seminars.  Since working with Contractors and their subs is a large portion of my job, I choose to attend the talk: “The Client, the Contractor and the Interior Designer: A Love Triangle”.  Juicy, right?

Seriously, though, selecting the right Contractor can make or break the job, which is why I wanted to share a few key points to consider when making that important decision.

Important steps to take when selecting a Contractor:

  1. Conduct several interviews and obtain 2-3 bids.  It is smart to have a point of reference on pricing and you can generally get a pretty good feel for a person by meeting with them face-to-face.
  2. Check references.  Speaking with other homeowners who have worked with a particular Contractor is a great way to gain insight into their process and communication style.
  3. Review their portfolio.  Seeing a Contractor’s finished work not only speaks to their skills as a Contractor but also as a polished business owner.
  4. Ask what training they have.  Continuing education and formal training are an important part of any design/trade professional’s job.
  5. Keep in mind that the lowest price is not always the best price.  Really evaluate the bids and make sure that you are comparing apples-to-apples.  Labor and materials are basically the same within a geographic region, so if a price is significantly lower, it often means that they are skimping in some way or another that will come back to bite you.

Take your time when selecting a Contractor and make sure that you have done your homework before entering into that relationship.  There are some really great Contractors out there, and if you do the proper legwork, you will find one that is a great fit for you.

Denise Maloney Interior Design