How to Choose a House Framing Company
Selecting a house framing company to build the skeleton of your new home is a task full of pitfalls for consumers who are not experts in the industry. It requires diligent research and thorough checking of facts and references. Start with a list of local companies, and narrow it down to a few potential choices by doing the following:
Visit the house framing companies’ websites and determine whether the companies seem to be professional and to have good reputations. Read customer reviews and the “About Us” pages to find out how long each company has been in business and what its qualifications and areas of expertise are. Determine each company’s area of specialization and make sure it is competent in drywall framing, if that is the type of work you want.
Select a shortlist of between five and 10 house framing companies to investigate further. Check each company with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for your state to see if there is any record of the company and feedback on its performance. Confirm legalities such as business registration, and find out whether the companies are licensed to operate in your state. For example, in Florida you can use the resources at sunbiz to check if companies are active and filing taxes.
By now, your shortlist should be down to around three to five house framing companies, by eliminating those whose credentials may not be impressive and those who have negative BBB reports. Contact these companies and ask each one for a list of at least 10 contactable references, as well as addresses where they have done other work. Don’t accept written testimonials, which are easy to fake, or comments on their website from “former clients’ who are not identifiable.
Contact each telephone reference personally, asking a variety of questions about the house framing contractor’s expertise, reliability, honesty, adherence to completion dates and any other points. Visit the sites for which you have addresses and inspect the drywall framing work done by the contractor as closely as you can, and speak with the homeowner if he or she is not on your list of telephone references.
Contact each of the house framing companies and ask for detailed, written quotations for the work you want done, with breakdowns of all costs including labor. The contractors should meet with you individually on site to survey the land available, discuss the home you want to build and identify any areas of concern. Ask each to explain what the job will involve, the equipment that will be used and whether they carry insurance for accidents or failure to perform.
Once you know which house framing company you want to use based on your research and reference checks, obtain the contractor’s draft agreement and get a lawyer to take a look at it before you sign. Make sure you know what is expected from you and when, and what the implications are for breach of contract by either party.