How To Find The Best Remodeling Contractor
Ok, so after threatening to do it for far too long, you have decided that 2018 is going to be the year that you finally transform that master bathroom or kitchen that has been mocking you for years into the master bathroom or kitchen you have always wanted it to be. This is the year when those old, tired linoleum tiles or faded and worn kitchen cabinets will finally be updated to something that resembles an actual modern style. Yes, it will be amazing, yes, it will be glorious. But first, you will have to find a remodeling contractor that possesses the skill and experience to make it all happen.
But where do you start the process? What questions should you ask? And how can you be sure you have the right person?
Choosing a contractor to spearhead your remodel can be one of the most important decisions that you will make during the entire remodel process. Choose the wrong provider could potentially prove fatal to your long-awaited remodel. To help you start this process, we wanted to pass along a few tips that can help get your remodel off on the right track.
Ask for Referrals
For services like remodeling, word of mouth can often be the best way to locate a good short list of possible providers. Relatives, friends and neighbors who have previously undertaken remodeling projects are a great source for information on potential candidates. Talk to those people and ask them who they used for their projects. Ask about their experience, what made it positive (or negative), and be certain to inquire about how their contractor handled problems and whether or not they would be willing to work with them again.
Look at Credentials
Once you have gathered a few recommendations, it is time to do some preliminary research. This can be done either by picking up a phone and making some phone calls, or by visiting company websites. It is important to find out whether the contractor in question holds the required licenses from state and local municipalities. Check to see if they are members of any professional associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or the National Association of Homebuilders. Do the homework on any of these associations and be sure about requirements and whether or not the contractor engages in ongoing course work for other industry specific certifications.
Now that you have a handle on the qualifications of your potential contractors, it is a good idea to set up some meetings. It is always a good idea to do the interviews in groups of no more than three in order to keep things from getting too confusing. How a contractor answers questions is extremely important, but communication goes both ways. Candidates should ask plenty of questions, as well. This is your opportunity to get to know your contractor, take advantage of it.
Ask to see some of the contractors’ projects. If you approve of them, request references and call contractors’ former customers to check up on them. Ask how the contractors did at executing the projects. Were they on time and on budget? Were the customers pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that could have been done differently?
Remember that when you’re hiring a remodeler, you are buying a service and not a product. Quality of service will determine the quality of the finished project. Here are some things you’ll want to explore and questions you’ll want to ask when interviewing a remodeler.
Business Experience and Management
Does the remodeler:
1: Maintain a permanent mailing address, e-mail address, personal phone number, fax number, cell phone and voicemail?
2: Carry insurance that protects you from liability? Ask for a copy of the remodeler’s insurance certificates to be sure. Also, ask the remodeler how much the project will add to the home’s value and attain additional insurance from your provider.
3: Have an established presence in the community? How long has the company been in business under this name? Does the remodeler maintain solid relationships with contractors such as plumbers and electricians and work with them as a team?
4: Possess a trustworthy reputation among customers and peers? Is there a track record of success?
5: Have any professional designations, such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), Certified Bath Designer (CBD), etc.? How long has the remodeler been a member or any trade organizations?
Get It in Writing
After selecting a contractor, take a look at the documents he or she has prepared. Do they look professional? Scrutinize the contract. Does it seem fair and balanced? And make sure the legal agreement includes the following:
• a bid price and payment schedule
• specifics about the scope of work
• the site plan
• a sequential schedule of primary construction tasks
• a change-order clause
• a written procedural list for close-out
• an express limited warranty
• a clause about dispute resolution
• a waiver of lien, which would prevent subcontractors and suppliers from putting a lien on a house should their invoices go unpaid by the contractor
Of course, the above is just a basic guideline on how to go about selecting a qualified remodeling contractor. There are a lot of things to consider in addition to just price, so you will want to make sure that you do your due diligence and take your time. As always, if there are any questions or concerns that you may have with your potential remodel, or if you would just like to get another quote on your project, we invite you to give the remodel professionals at Crew Pros a call.