Remodeling contractors do most of the heavy lifting during any home renovation project. They’re the ones who tear down the walls, install fittings, and buy the necessary resources with your money. It’s, therefore, important that you choose someone who’s reliable and competent.
However, selecting a remodeling contractor is easier said than done since each one brings their own unique skills and processes to the table.
To ensure your desired outcome, you’ll need a contractor who understands your vision and has the means to turn it into a reality.
Mentioned ahead are a few tips on how you can choose the right remodeling contractor for your project.
1. Ask Your Family and Friends
Home remodeling contractors who do a good job and satisfy their clients engender tremendous positive word of mouth.
It, therefore, makes sense to begin your search by asking your extended family members, friends, and neighbors about the contractor they’ve worked with and liked.
Getting recommendations will help you make an informed decision since you’ll not only know about the good contractors, but also know which ones to avoid
2. Go through Online Reviews
While offline recommendations are useful, online reviews can be a great help as well. Look for well-known review platforms that post genuine reviews by verified customers. Some of these include Yelp and Angie’s List.
You can also check out the contractor’s social media accounts to get an idea of what their customers are saying. This should help you gauge their experiences with past and current customers and see if they suit your requirements.
Most importantly, see how the contractor handles complaints and comments from dissatisfied customers. If they’re polite and have taken measures to resolve their issues, you can expect similar services during your project as well.
3. Check out References and Ratings
When considering prospective home remodel contractors, find out the official name of their registered business. Also, ask them for references of past or current customers and subcontractors to better gauge their workmanship and standards.
Knowing the official name of the contractor’s business will enable you to search through the Better Business Bureau database for complaints or legal issues pending against them. You will also be able to know how these problems were resolved, along with their license details.
From customers, you can learn about personal experiences of working with the contractor you’re considering. The subcontractors will pinpoint the red flags, such as delayed project delivery or compromised quality of materials.
4. Verify Claims
Dig a little deeper and do some research of your own. Pick up the phone and call up the references provided by the contractor. Ask details about their project – how it materialized and if they encountered any hiccups with the contractor. If possible, ask to see the finished product.
You should also visit one of their current job sites and witness firsthand how the contractor works. See if the job site is safe and sanitary. Talk to the workers present there to see if they’re polite and careful in handling the homeowner’s property.
5. Set up an In-Person Meeting
Depending on your findings, narrow down your list to two-to-three contractors and meet them face-to-face to discuss the work and cost estimates (more in the next point).
The contractor should be able to answer all of your queries satisfactorily in simple and clear language. It is crucial that you’re able to communicate with the contractor with ease. After all, they’re going to be spending a lot of time in your house once the project begins.
6. Get and Compare Bids
Once you have shortlisted a few contractors you like, get bids from each one. Discuss the scope of the project and lay down your expectations. If you have blueprints, show them the plans. Let them know your budget and ask them for a full quote.
To compare the bids effectively and make the best decision, ask each contractor to provide detailed information about the labor and material costs, as well as all other expenses involved.
When a particular bid makes sense to you, start the negotiation process. Ensure that the bidding document contains all the details discussed, and you’re comfortable with the terms and conditions from the start.
7. Check If They’re Licensed, Bonded, and Insured
Most states require contractors to undertake and clear an exam, and attend educational courses to maintain their license.
They also need to provide a suitable insurance cover to their employees, so that if someone gets injured on the job, their medical bills are covered and no blame games are involved. In the absence of insurance, the injured worker can file a legal complaint against you to pay their medical and other related bills.
You will also do well to look into a surety bond, in case the contractor goes out of business before finishing your project or simply doesn’t finish the job.
8. Do They Have the Necessary Permits?
Several professional services require permits that allow them to conduct business within the confines of their state as long as they meet the requirements. Most remodeling jobs also require permits.
They are necessary to ensure that a certified building inspector has reviewed the project and approved the modifications that are to be carried out. Steer clear of remodeling contractors who work without the necessary permits.
9. Determine Payment Schedule
It is crucial that you determine the payment schedule in advance along with various associated terms and timelines. This will speak volumes about the contractor’s work ethic and financial status.
If the contractor asks for half the bid upfront, they could be struggling financially or be worried that you won’t pay them after you’ve seen their final product. So, be wary of this aspect.
Typically, a large project will have a predetermined schedule where payments will be distributed – a certain percentage to be paid at the time of signing the contract, then over the duration of the project, and the final amount after the completion of the project.
10. Get It on Paper
Make sure to have everything you decide with the contractor put in writing. Draw up a legally-binding contract that clearly mentions every detail of the project – the start date, projected completion date, specific materials and products to be used, payment schedule, workers’ compensation and liability insurance payments, necessary permits and licenses, information about subcontractors and suppliers, and so on.
A professional remodeling contractor will understand that drawing up a contract doesn’t indicate mistrust, but helps ensure hassle-free and successful project completion. They will not hesitate in putting the above points on paper.
When it comes to getting a home remodel, the most difficult decision is often related to choosing a dependable contractor. Since this job requires considerable time, money and effort, you want to get this aspect right. Hopefully, the above tips will help you choose a contractor who will ensure to deliver the desired results in a quick and safe manner. Do check them out before zeroing in on one for your upcoming home remodel project.