Dreaming up a new kitchen or a spa-worthy bathroom may be the most fun part of remodeling your home, but choosing the right home remodel contractor is the most important part. After all, it can seem like there are as many options and the question arises, how does one sort through everything in order to find the perfect fit for their project.
Choosing a remodeling contractor is a difficult task as you are supposed to trust someone who would be cutting open and rearranging your home where you spend most of your time. Whether you plan to stay in your home for many years or you are remodeling for a quick sale, you want to make sure that the companies you shortlist are qualified to do the job, plus, you like and trust the person enough to embark on the remodeling journey together.
When you choose a contractor you also want someone easy to work with. While going through the interview process, you wouldn’t hire the first applicant for a job at your business, flow a process, ask questions, check portfolios, gather competitive bids to narrow down the list. Do your due diligence before you hire a contractor because who you hire makes all the difference in how well the remodel turns out and what your experience throughout the construction process will be. Note that, price should not be the only factor when making the final decision, and don’t settle for the first pop-up ad that comes your way.
Take a deep breath and follow these tips to help you find the right remodeling contractor to get the job done!
Start with a detailed plan:
This rings true for both your project itself and the remodeling company you are hiring. The detailed scope of work will give them a clear idea of what you want the result to look like. For the contractor, they can come up with a comprehensive plan to show you so that you know how things will move forward with a realistic budget that will be required. For instance, if the specifics are never discussed in the beginning or you are without a detailed plan in hand this can drastically affect the pricing as they go with the project.
You will get more accurate estimates if you can be precise in what you want done and the type of materials you would like to use to make it happen. Let’s consider a scenario, when you get in touch with contractors you might say that you want to ‘Redo your Bedroom’ which could have several meanings. Either you could mean replacing the storage, changing the position of windows or it could mean tearing the walls and floors, redo the electricity, and changing the layout. These are two different aspects of renovation that are going to affect your bids significantly, so you must have the details ironed out first.
The first place to start your search for a home renovation contractor is within your circle of friends and relatives. Alternatively, people in your neighbourhood who have done similar projects can prove to be a great resource.
If they don’t have anyone to recommend, there is nothing best from making a search online across various recommended portals. Once you start finding names of home remodeling companies, take a look at their websites, read testimonials and reviews on Google. Look at their portfolios with the similar work done and get free estimates.
Your research does not stop here. Once you have found a few prospective companies that serve your area, put those shortlisted pros through a screening process by checking their experience and licenses. Having a license demonstrates a contractors’ credibility, it shows that they have taken the exam and that they qualified the test of knowing the building codes and processes. Moreover, it is important to narrow down the contractors based on the experience they have in handling similar projects. As of today, most of the projects are regulated and code-specific that you want someone who knows the details of what is required.
After a thorough check of their experience and licenses, here are a few questions that might help you narrow down your list:
- Have you handled a project like this before?
- How long have you been in business?
- Can you share a list of references?
In most cases, any good contractor will easily answer the first three questions and will appreciate dealing with clients that take an active interest in finding a good service. However, after asking these questions if you have more than one front runner, here are some additional questions:
- When can we start with the project?
- Will you take care of the building permits?
- Will there be a dedicated team assigned for this project?
- What are your payment terms?
- How long will it take to complete the job?
- Will you provide a contract for the job?
Get Bids for the job:
By now you have eliminated anyone from the list who does subpar work. By this point, you will have to get quite close to the general contractors you have shortlisted over some time. However, make sure you choose someone who you can trust and communicate with when any issues occur including change of orders, change in timeline, or materials during the project.
Your final bid and contract will be crucial to building the base of your project. This is how you can ensure that you are getting what you pay for and that nothing is left out as discussed. After a thorough consultation with each contractor, they will present you with a bid according to the scope of the project that will lay out how much of the cost is going to the factors like materials, labour, the type of renovations and this might include the details on the timeline of the project as well as total estimated costs.
Have a detailed contract in place before the project gets started:
It is incredibly important that they leave no detail out when drawing up your contract. The contract should include absolutely everything that you want to get done as well as the time frame and schedule, the company’s contact information, the team of people who will be involved in the project, all the materials to be used, agreed-upon payment plan and much more. It should also state the guarantee that the contractor will be responsible for filing all the necessary permits. Insisting on a clear contract is not about mistrust, however, on the homeowners part, it is about ensuring a successful renovation.
Note that, as soon as any unforeseen circumstances crop up this may end up changing the project timeline and cost. So a change order provision in a contract will layout what additional work may be done, what it will cost, and if it will affect the project timeline or not.