A remodeling contractor can take the stress off of you!!
So, you’re ready for a kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, or complete renovation, but you lack the skills to do the work yourself. Hiring a remodeling contractor is the best and easiest solution. However, choosing a contractor can be a headache and quite overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.
We’ve created a list of steps to follow that ensure you select the right contractor for your home upgrade. These steps can be the difference between complete confidence in your contractor and frustrating sleepless nights. Hiring a contractor for your home renovation is like hiring a new employee for your business. Narrow down the best candidates before making your final decision.
Here are 8 things to consider when choosing a contractor for your next home remodeling project.
1. Know What You Want
The first step in finding the right remodeling contractor is about you, your family, and your home. Based on your need for remodeling, decide what part of your home you want to renovate. Do you need more living space? Is your kitchen or bathroom outdated? Having a vision will help your contractor make it become a reality.
2. Ask for Referrals/Recommendations
Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find a qualified remodeling contractor to handle your project. Asking family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations can be a great start. Social media is another avenue to explore. Asking others helps to narrow down your list, as well as which to avoid.
Be sure to ask how the contractor handled any problems that arose, what made it a positive (or negative) experience, and if they would use the same contractor again. You can even ask your local lumberyard. They will know which contractors buy quality materials and if they pay their bills on time.
Remember, you should be able to easily contact a contractor and view examples of their work upon request. Be careful of remodeling contractors who don’t return phone calls, don’t have a website, or any type of social media presence.
3. Search Online Reviews
Reading online reviews are very helpful. Search reviews on such forums as Yelp or Angie’s List as these reviews are hard to fake. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also provide a range of experiences customers have had with various contractors. Even if the review was not completely positive, how did the contractor handle the review? If they worked with the customer to resolve the issue, you can expect the same treatment during your remodeling project.
4. Look at Credentials
Once you have a list of recommendations, visit the contractor’s website. This will give you an indication of their credentials, licenses, professional associations, and BBB accreditation, if one exists.
Be sure to choose a contractor who specializes in the type of renovation you need. For example, All Star Construction, Inc. performs the following services: kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, exterior remodeling, and room additions/conversions.
Cross off any remodeling contractor on your list who does not have the right credentials or takes too long to provide you with the information. Also, be sure that any contractor on your list has liability insurance in case they damage your home, as well as worker’s compensation for the contractor and other workers. Verify that their insurance policies are up-to-date.
5. Interview Candidates
Once you’ve narrowed down to 2-3 candidates, set up a meeting. Communication between you and a contractor is imperative and can tell a lot about the contractor. Remember, a contractor will be in your home for a lengthy time. He should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and without awkwardness. The meeting gives the contractor an opportunity to give you an estimate for your project and answer any questions you may have.
6. Check Portfolio/References/BBB Ratings
Ask each contractor for a portfolio of their most recent projects. The portfolio should contain before/after photos of at least 10 projects. It might also include blueprints to show how the contractor begins each project. Peruse through each portfolio looking for “red flags”. These might include cheap materials, seams on countertops, poor layout, paint oversprays, imperfect lines and edges, crooked tiles, and uneven surfaces.
If you approve of the contractor’s portfolio, request references. Call former customers and get their feedback about the contractor and the quality of work. If possible, visit a current job site and check for yourself to see how the contractor works.
In addition, contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Make sure the contractor does not have a history of complaints, disputes with clients, or any other problems in the past.
7. Get Estimates
Once you’ve interviewed each contractor, get an estimate. Discuss your budget, any blueprints you have, and ask for a full quote. To correctly compare your bids, be sure each contractor provides details about the costs of materials, labor, and other additional expenses, timeline for the project, and types of materials that will be sued. It’s estimated that 40% of your costs should be materials, 40% represent labor and other expenses, and 20% allocated for profit margin.
Be cautious of estimates that are too low. The contractor may be desperate for work or cutting corners, such as using cheap materials. Remember the phrase “you get what you pay for”? Your home is your haven. Don’t let price guide you.
8. Hire Your Contractor
Once you’ve chosen your remodeling contractor and accepted their proposal, they will draft a contract with full details about the project. Take your time to review and sign the contract. When you hire a contractor, you are buying their service. Quality of their service is directly correlated to the quality of the finished product. Once the work begins, communication between you and the contractor is the key to a happy, successful, and joyful home remodeling experience.
The bottom line is that it’s up to you to do your research to find the right contractor for your home improvement project. Follow these steps and you’ll be one step closer to your dream home.