One of the most asked questions by you and other homeowners is “How do I hire a contractor who knows about toxin free materials and products?” And to be quite honest, it can be really difficult to hire a contractor who does really know about toxins and how to reduce them as much as possible in your home. And this can be doubly hard to find if you live in an area with a smaller population, where there aren’t as many options
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And even if you can’t hire a contractor who is well-versed in the toxin free options out there, you can hire a contractor who is open minded to working with new materials and products.
When you’re wanting to get started on a home project that requires some professional help, believe me I know how daunting the task of hiring a good contractor can be. There are so many considerations when it comes time to hire a contractor, that it can actually put a halt in your project’s timeline and leave you feeling frustrated.
I’m looking forward to sharing some of my best secrets of how to hire a contractor for a healthy home project. We’ll cover which search terms to use when hunting for a contractor, questions to ask a potential contractor and what to do when you can’t find a low toxin contractor.
SEARCH TERMS TO FIND A CONTRACTOR TO HIRE
There are SO many ways you can search for a contractor in your area, but probably the most common way is to do a google search. When you’re going to hire a contractor for any sort of project, you’ll probably head to a search engine first to get the ball rolling.
This is really a great way to start, because you may be able to find what you’re looking for with just a few of the right key terms. Some of the best terms to use are:
- Eco Friendly
- Toxin Free
- Non Toxic
- Chemically Sensitive
You would then pair them with whatever type of contractor you’re hunting for:
- General Contractor
- Carpet Contractor
- Tile Installer
- Plastering Contractor
- Masonry Contractor
- Remodel Contractor
- Home Builder
- Home Remodeler
- Waterproofing Company
If a company or contractor comes up under these search terms, they may or may not be a good contractor to hire. Obviously you’ll have to do a bit more digging, but you just narrowed down your search by a large margin.
You can also search through reviews and ratings for these key terms. Sometimes there are contractors who don’t necessarily promote that they will use low toxin products and materials.
If you’ve struck out on finding a healthy contractor to hire, you can always hire a contractor who is willing to work with your products and materials. This happens SO frequently in my line of work as I know the products you put in your home are SO very important to you. If you can hire a contractor who is open minded and willing to use products other than what they’ve typically used, you have found a contractor who will likely use the building materials that you provide for them.
QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL CONTRACTOR
So how do you go about finding a contractor who is a little more willing than the typical contractor out there. Often you can find someone to work with by asking a few key questions when you’re interviewing them either by phone or email.
I will also remind you that contractors are typically quite busy, so just a few key questions should be all you ask right off the bat. Try not to waste your time or their time if you’re unsure you’ll be hiring them. Once you’ve decided you might like to hire this particular contractor, you can expand your questions to more as they bid your job and you get to know them.
Some first questions that are important to ask are:
- “Have you worked on any projects that involved toxin free products or materials?”
- “I’m interested in using more natural products for this project, are you familiar with any that relate to my job?”
- “How do you plan to minimize dust and debris during the project?”
- “Are you willing to use materials and products that I provide?”
- “Do you have experience working with chemically sensitive families?”
Once you’ve got these questions answered, you’ll be able to get a feel for your contractor’s potential to work in your home. Not only will you be able to tell if they’re knowledgeable, but you’ll also be able to tell if they’re willing to customize the work to what you’d like.
Once you’ve hired a contractor, you’ll have more questions to ask and more homework you’ll have to do, but this is the best starting spot.
HOW TO HIRE A CONTRACTOR
First and foremost, make sure you hire a contractor who has been out to give you a written up bid on your project. Get the estimate in writing and make sure you understand how long the bid is good for or if it expires.
Contractors all work differently in terms of how they charge for work. A general contractor is going to itemize out a project differently than a plumber. And some contractors will just give you a flat rate. It’s never rude or annoying to ask how this is calculated.
The second thing to keep in mind when you hire a contractor for a home project is how they will get access to your home and project. Will you need to let them inside? Will you provide a lockbox? You call the shots. It’s your house. You can also be very specific as to how you want the area for the project closed off while they’re working. This will help with dust and debris that can get spread around your home.
Third, make sure you discuss who will be purchasing the non toxic materials and products you’ve arranged to be used. Sometimes a homeowner is solely responsible. If this is the case, make sure your contractor is only charging you for their labor and not for any materials. Othertims, a contractor will supply the materials and products you’ve requested. Either way, make sure you know this ahead of time.
Finally, make sure there is formally signed paperwork and waivers protecting both you and the contractor in case the project doesn’t go as planned. I’ve had excellent experiences with the majority of contractors I’ve worked with both professionally and personally. But we’ve had a bad experience or two that just reminds us to make sure we’re protected in case it’s not all as it seems.
HIRE ME TO WORK WITH YOUR CONTRACTOR
Did you know that one of the services I offer is to put together a product list and booklet that you can provide to your contractor? It’s one of the ways I’m able to help many families when they’re remodeling or doing a home project.
If you’ve found a contractor or designer who is willing to use your materials and products, this service is PERFECT to add. Not only will it take the endless research out of your hands, but it also gives you the peace of mind knowing that the product or material going into your house is really safe for your family.
All it takes is a quick consultation via phone or Zoom where I’ll gather information about your project and your family’s needs and desires. From there I get to work creating a plan of materials and building components that your contractor can use for your project. Most families choose to hunt down most of the supplies on their own, however some of the recommendations may be purchased from a showroom or supply store, where contractors often have discounts.
Your plan is a living page on my website and you’ll also receive a PDF that you can print out. I’m available for additional questions throughout your project and we can make changes to your life webpage at any time.
You can set up a consultation by following the link below and getting started. Rates vary depending on how big your project is and how many different materials and items you’ll need.