So it’s finally time to remodel your home and finally get that bathroom or kitchen of your dreams. But you’re confused on how you’ll find the a reliable contractor and what to ask when to ensure they are right for you. Hiring the best remodeling contractor is an important first step to a successful home improvement project.
1. Check for proper licenses
Every contractor has a base requirement of having a contractor’s license. Additionally, many contractors have specific licenses that will help you narrow down the options. Call the licensing division of the state or area to make sure that you have all the required licenses. Most states also require contractors to take an exam and also take annual education courses to maintain a license.
Permits are mandatory for carrying out professional remodeling projects. This ensures that a building inspector has reviewed the plan and approves of it. If a contractor is willing to work without a permit, you should not hire him!
2. Make sure they have the proper insurance
Another element that you need to look after is making sure that the contractors have the proper insurances that protect you and your home. They need to carry:
- General liability insurance. This protects your property from any accidental damage during the remodeling process.
- Workers compensation insurance. This covers the workers who are working on your project in the event of an accident.
If the general contractor cannot provide proof of carrying both general liability and workers compensation, you will be responsible for any accidents or damage during the construction project.
3. Learn how long the contractor has been in business
An accurate measure of a contractor’s experience is by knowing how long he has been working in the industry. Someone with a lot more knowledge will tend to make a lesser amount of mistakes on the project and will also be more experienced in conflict resolution.
4. Check the contractor’s professional standing
One of the sure-fire ways to know whether or not a contractor is best suited for the remodeling project is to check out their professional status. Ask about the professional organizations they belong to, the projects they’ve done, and their reputation with the better business bureau.
Most of these contractors will be more than happy to provide you with a portfolio of the work that they’ve done, Many of them will have a portfolio section on their website which you can browse through and get an idea of the type of work the contractor does and whether or not it fits with your ideals. Take special note of
- The number of projects displayed on their portfolio
- The average quality of those projects
- The eagerness of the contractor to share their collection.
5. Get referrals from people you know
Word of mouth is crucial. Run background checks on your home renovation contractors to assess and evaluate their overall reputation in the industry. Ask friends and colleagues who have recently had their remodeling done about their contractors and the experience that they had. Do your peers and colleagues enthusiastically recommend a particular contractor?
Since contractors on the job spend a significant chunk of their day at your home doing renovations, they will naturally prefer places that are close to their homes/offices. Therefore, start with contractors within 20 miles of your home.
6. Check for negative reviews
Negative reviews are vital because they are more genuine than positive reviews. A remodeling contractor with hundreds of 5 star reviews raises red flags. Many people get paid to write fake positive reviews on websites and other forums to improve sales. A few negative reviews are not indicative of their work. You can’t please everyone all the time. So look at how the negative review is handled and the reason for the review.
The most common complaint that many homeowners have is that during remodeling, there is a lot of accumulated dust and mess. Ask your contractor how he will deal with the mess from dust walls and construction debris. If your contractor has a well thought out plan, then it is a good sign and shows that the contractor has experience in his job.
7. Assess their personality
You will be interacting with a remodeling contractor quite a bit. You will share ideas and have conversations together on a variety of topics. Therefore, the contractor you hire must be friendly and helpful. You and your contractor need to have a certain level of understanding to ensure that the project doesn’t fall apart altogether.
Home remodeling contractors will be spending large amounts of time in your home, which is your sanctuary. Be careful about the people you let in.
8. Question the process workflow
This is probably one of the ways through which you can assess how skilled a person is at the job and how much experience he has. A well thought out process will also give you an idea of what to expect when the project starts. A few questions that you could ask are.
- Do you have a standard protocol or route for a project like this?
- Will you give ideas and suggestions on what could be done better along the way?
- How many hours will you be able to give to the project?
- How do you resolve disputes? Can you give me an example of a disagreement you faced and how you worked towards a resolution?
9. Review detailed pricing
Pricing for a project is, no doubt, one of the most important factors. A common problem with homeowners is that they typically opt for the cheapest remodeling contractor available. Homeowners need to be wary of any contractor that quotes an incredibly low price because sometimes some contractors exclude some items from the cost estimate and that eventually leads to a bill much higher than the initial quote.
A low bid price may seem to save you money, but it can also ruin the job that you expected. I believe that while you’re evaluating contractors, you will need to strike a balance between cost and value. Opting for the lowest bid is not a smart choice and will, more often than not, do you more harm than good.
A good rule of thumb is to compare the prices with the services a particular contractor is providing online. There are a lot of websites available that you can check and get an estimate about the average price and will help you know whether a contractor is under or overcharging you.
Construction activities can become chaotic and disorganized if not planned properly. What you should seek in your contractor is a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and orderliness. Sometimes contractors intentionally understate the price by leaving out some elements, make sure that you have a detailed discussion with your contractor, and do your research on the types of costs that could occur.
10. Get everything in writing
All the essential details should always be in writing. The payment schedules, timetables, materials, and all other necessary items. Authentic contractors will prefer having a written agreement as unwritten contracts open room to opposition and disputes. If you’ve spoken to several contractors, you may not remember who told you what. Your contract should spell out exactly what will be done, including deadlines, payment terms and materials to be used. Read it and ask questions. Knowing what is in your contract means there should be no surprises.
Also remember that a good contractor won’t ever pressure you to sign something you aren’t sure of. Keep a copy for your records. When it comes to construction, never rely on verbal promises. And NEVER sign a blank contract.
Now that you know what to look for, you will be more confident on who you want to hire. The final decision is ultimately yours. If anything about your contractor makes you feel apprehensive, then keep searching until you find the best remodeling contractor for you. Do your homework and take your time before reaching a decision.
Remodart is one of the best remodeling companies available. We offer a wide variety of services, such as roofing, siding, windows and deck remodeling and have accumulated over 21 years of experience. We guarantee professional services, and you won’t end up regretting your decision to work with us! Contact us to discuss your upcoming remodeling project.