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10 Tips for Hiring a Furniture Contractor/Carpenter

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Category: Residential
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If you are interested in furniture, cabinets or a remodel involving wood, you need to hire a good carpenter or a furniture contractor who is reputable, reliable and talented. Hiring a carpenter is similar to hiring a contractor, landscaper, accountant, or any type of professional service. Carpentry can often involve intricate and very skilled work; you want to always ensure that you do your homework thoroughly, so you can find a professional team that is the best match for a home improvement project. 
 
There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing your next carpenter. Here 10 tips to help you make the best choice:-
 
1. Do a thorough survey
 
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Ask friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbours, who have recently had carpentry work done, for recommendations. If you already know a trustworthy contractor who has done some work for you, ask them to suggest a reputable carpenter who is an expert at the job you need doing so you can shortlist a few candidates.  
 
2. Get estimates
 
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Be sure to give each carpenter the same detailed description of the job to get the most accurate estimates. Note the carpenter’s professionalism when they visit the space. Be sure the carpenter is punctual and clearly responds to all of your questions and concerns. Be wary of carpenters that quote an unusually low price, they may not provide quality craftsmanship or materials. Get at least 3 estimates so you have a clear idea of the budget you can work with. 
 
3. Look at the portfolio
 
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Ask the carpenter how long they have been in business and how many jobs, like yours, they have completed. Most carpenters these days will have a portfolio of their work. If they don’t, request to see a sample of their work. In case you are choosing a carpenter who has done work for a friend or family member, request to see at least one other project, so you get to make an unbiased opinion. Do this because some clients know how to get their job done perfectly, especially if they have their own design and architectural skills. You want to hire someone who always does a good job, regardless of the client. 
 
4. Request References
 
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Ask for a few references. You don’t just want a carpenter who is talented, you also want someone who is reliable, honest and respects timelines. Approach these references and ask about their experience working with the carpenter and/or their team. 
 
5. Ask to see a sample
 
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Ask for a small woodworking sample. With that you get to gauge the quality of work, the materials used and the finesse of the job. A sample tells you how thorough the carpenter is with his job. 
 
6. Check credentials
 
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Most carpenters in India learn the trade from family members. Make sure that you question them about their policy of work and where they learned the skill. It’s also important to question them about safety; since most carpenters don’t have any insurance or official license in India, you want to make sure that the team can offer some credentials. 
 
7. Do a quick test
 
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This one is easy - identify a minor problem - a loose headboard, a chipping floorboard or a broken cabinet. Ask the shortlisted candidates to tell you how they would fix the problem, without making this seem like a test. Gauge their answer based on knowledge, skill, reliability, and honesty. The individual, who is planning to do a thorough job that seems rather unreasonable for such a small problem, especially because it will also cost more, may not be the best pick. Also, the individual who suggests shoddy repair work to cut back on effort may also not be the best choice. 
 
8. Meet the team 
 
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Once you are fairly certain of which carpenter would be the best match for your project, ask to meet their team (if any). Ask if the main carpenter will do the job himself or delegate his workers for your project, especially if the carpenter is the owner of the company himself. Try to get the owner to perform the work (or be physically present at all times to supervise and assist the team) instead of any of their worker bees: that ensures the best quality of work.
 
9. Discuss timelines
 
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This one is important, often, carpenters stretch out the project way beyond the deadline. Make sure you define timelines right away and do leave a margin for unforeseen situations. For example – wet weather can make it harder for wood polish to dry and high humidity may result in unfavourable working conditions. Ask the carpenter to list out any causes for delay, his approach in such a case and the project deadline in a worst case scenario. This mentally prepares you to invest time and money for the period, considering that each day could cost you something extra. 
 
10. Draw up a contract
 
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You’ve got a mental picture of your project; it’s time to commit it to paper. Convince the carpenter that this is the best approach as it keeps both you and him liable to stick to deadlines. You want a person that can handle making your dream come true. They, likewise, should be expected to follow the schedule that all parties have agreed upon. And you should be expected to release payments as discussed. 

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