How do I know I can trust a contractor in my home? Short answer, do your homework; long answer, let’s talk about what that homework is.
You are entrusting us with the keys to your HOME. This is your sanctuary, the place here you can relax and feel safe. When picking a contractor, it’s essential to find one who understands and respects your space, your privacy, and your security. You will, in essence, be inviting strangers into your home for weeks or possibly months. It is very important to do you due diligence.
With the proper research, interviews, and a little intuition, the following tips will help you find the perfect fit who understands your needs and can help you feel comfortable during the remodeling process.
In an industry where companies routinely come and go, you’ll want to be sure you’re choosing a company that has longevity in the industry. A business’ reputation is critically important and is earned through consistent performance and reliability.
It is also important to match the contractor with the type of work you are considering. For example, if your project is an addition, and the company you’re considering has no past experience with additions, you should keep looking. Choose a contractor who has experience with projects like the one you are planning.
Once you’ve identified a few companies that seem like a good fit, it’s time to have a chat with them. You may be thinking, “What do I even ask? I’ve never interviewed contractors before.” A great place to start is by asking them to describe their process to you. You’re going to be relying on them to guide you through a relatively complex process of design and construction, and if they don’t have a clear plan, you may be dissatisfied with the end result.
Next, discuss what we call the three project objectives; scope, timing, and budget. As we discussed above, are they familiar with the type of project you have in mind? Can they complete the project in a timeframe that works for you? Does the project’s cost range fit within your budget? You may have other important objectives or concerns to add to this list, be sure to discuss those also.
Get Your Paperwork In Order
A major remodeling project brings with it a lot of paperwork: insurance, worker’s compensation, contracts, project specifications, change orders, and many more. In your interview process, ask about these documents and ask for any needed clarification regarding what they are and how they are used. Ask question! It’s important you know how the process works. NEVER hire a general contractor without a written contract that clearly details the scope of the project.
Always ask for references, and if you do call a former clients, ask specific questions that may help you in your decision making. You can start by asking about the company’s communication practices. Were they kept informed throughout the process? Were decisions or changes discussed with them and handled proactively?
A few well-placed questions, specific enough to give you a picture of the process, as well as the people involved will help you make an informed decision.
Cheapest is Not Always the Best
Buying cheap sushi just isn’t worth the risk, and neither is hiring the cheapest remodeler. Be very cautious of choosing your remodeler based on a bid. Early bids done before any design work are very hard to quantify and should only be seen for what they are, an estimate. Even done correctly, a bid only tells you about the projected cost, not about the quality, service, communication and integrity of the contractor. Cost is definitely an important aspect of your final decision, but there are other factors that are important to consider. You get what you pay for, so the most important thing is to understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Read Their Reviews
Better Business Bureau, Houzz, Google, Facebook, and personal testimonials are just a few places you can obtain reviews. Take a few minutes to read them, and check them out on a few different sites. If there aren’t many reviews, there might be a reason for that. Another thing to remember, anyone can write anything online. If a remodeler has a plethora of strong, positive reviews and just that one negative, they are probably not representative of the average client’s experience.
Go With Your Gut
Don’t underestimate the power of intuition. In our data-driven, review-saturated world, we often don’t give enough credit to listening to our gut. If something seems too good to be true or feels a little off, listen to to that inner voice and dig a bit deeper. Unfortunately, everyone is not always the person they claim to be. Use those natural instincts as one of the tools to help you make a smart choice.
Have other questions or comments about this topic, please leave us a note below, or give us a call or email today. We’re here to help you avoid writing your own remodeling nightmare story.