Adding a backyard shed can be a practical and aesthetic enhancement to your property, providing extra storage space, workspace, or even a relaxing retreat. And sometimes, you may want a custom design that will better fit your needs and the space you have available. Unless you’re skilled at construction, this type of project is usually best left to a contractor.
To ensure the success of your project, it’s crucial to hire the right person. From checking building codes to verifying prices, there are several steps you should follow to make the hiring process smooth and successful.
Of course, if a pre-built shed meets your needs, there are lots of options, too. Prefab sheds are available from many local businesses as well as big-box stores. In most cases, they can be assembled in a day by two or three people. But if you’re looking for something custom-built, read on!
Understand Building Codes and Permits
Before embarking on any construction project, it’s important to understand local building codes and obtain any necessary permits. Building codes vary from location to location and can dictate shed size, placement, height restrictions, and more.
Contact your local building department or zoning office to find out what regulations apply to your area. A reputable contractor will be knowledgeable about these regulations and help you navigate the permit process.
Determine Shed Size and Design
Before hiring a contractor, you should have a clear idea of the size, design, and purpose of your backyard shed. Consider factors such as the shed’s function (storage, workshop, gardening), the amount of space available, and any design preferences you might have. Having a basic plan will enable you to communicate your vision to potential contractors.
Find a Reliable Contractor
Finding a reliable and skilled contractor is a crucial step in ensuring the success of your backyard shed project. Here are a few tips for finding the right contractor:
- Ask for Recommendations: Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors who have had similar projects completed. Their firsthand experiences can provide valuable insights into the contractors they worked with.
- Online Research: Utilize online platforms to search for local contractors with positive reviews and a solid reputation. Websites like Angie’s List, Houzz, and Yelp can be helpful resources.
- Check Credentials: Verify that the contractor is licensed, insured, and has relevant experience in constructing backyard sheds or similar structures. A trustworthy contractor will be open to sharing this information.
Discuss Project Details with the Contractor
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential contractors, schedule consultations to discuss your project in detail. During these meetings, cover the following points:
- Project Scope: Clearly outline the size, design, and purpose of the shed. Provide any sketches, plans, or inspirational images you may have. Even if it’s just something you’ve seen on Pinterest, it can be a big help to get started!
- Timeline: Discuss the expected start and completion dates for the project. Make sure the contractor’s schedule aligns with your needs.
- Materials: Specify the materials you want to use for the shed’s construction. Quality materials will contribute to the longevity and durability of the structure.
- Cost Estimate: Request a detailed cost estimate that includes labor, materials, permits, and any potential additional expenses. A reliable contractor will provide a transparent breakdown of costs.
Verify the Pricing
While it’s essential to compare prices from different contractors, don’t solely focus on the lowest bid. Extremely low prices might indicate subpar workmanship or the use of inferior materials. Instead, look for a contractor who offers a fair price while demonstrating a commitment to quality and professionalism.
To verify the pricing:
- Request Multiple Quotes: Obtain quotes from several contractors to get a better understanding of the average cost for your project.
- Understand the Breakdown: Ensure that each quote includes a clear breakdown of costs, allowing you to identify any potential hidden fees.
- Ask About Payment Schedule: Discuss the payment schedule with the contractor. Be wary of contractors who ask for a substantial upfront payment.
Hiring a contractor to build a backyard shed involves several critical steps. From understanding building codes to finding a reliable contractor, discussing project details, and verifying pricing, careful planning, and research will lead to a successful and satisfying outcome. By following this comprehensive guide, you can embark on your backyard shed project with confidence and excitement.