So you’re finally ready to start making some updates to your home, but you don’t have the time or perhaps the skills to take on a home improvement project yourself. In that case, hiring a remodel contractor is the best plan of action. But how can you tell if someone is good at a job you don’t know how to do? It’s up to you to do your homework, find a skilled professional, and hire the best person for the job.
Word-of-mouth is hands down the best way to find a qualified remodel contractor to tackle the job. So start by asking your homeowners friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations on who they’ve had good experiences with. Also ask, what made it a positive experience and how the contractor handled problems and whether or not they would use them again. Other options can be using social media to ask your friends for recommendations or checking out online reviews. You can also check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to find a list of members in your area. You’ll want to create a list of about 10 – 15 local contractors with the right expertise. Throughout the process you will eliminate the majority of these, so it’s better to start with more than what you’ll need.
After you’ve received referrals, you’ll want to start doing some preliminary investigating. Search each candidate online, look at their website and social media presence, and do phone interviews. First, make sure that they hold all the required licenses and certifications to complete the job safely. Then, ask to see a portfolio of projects they’ve worked on in the last year. Do you take projects of your size? Can they provide a list of previous clients? How many other projects would they have going on at the same time? Questions like these will reveal their availability, reliability, and can give you an idea of how smooth the work will go. You’ll want to choose a contractor who specializes in the type of remodel you need.
After doing your background check you should have narrowed your search down to the top five or six contenders. Which means it’s time to start checking their references. This is a common practice so any reputable remodel contractor will be prepared to provide references. Anyone who is unwilling or unable to do so should be eliminated from your list of potential contractors. A typical list of references includes at least 5 references with the name, address, and telephone number of east customer. It also helps if the dates of each job are provided so you can see time gaps between references. During your phone call, you’ll want to keep detailed notes. Here are some good questions to start with:
At this point you have eliminated anyone who does sub-par work and you should have only a few names left on your list. The next step is to price the job with the remaining remodel contractors on your list. After a thorough consultation, each contractor should present you with a bid that includes a brief proposal and an estimated cost. This should include things like timeline for the project, materials the recommend, and total cost.
Remember, it isn’t always best to go with the lowest price. Sometimes the materials or amount of work will differ from one contractor to the next. Think about your overall goals for your renovation when you are choosing which proposal is best for you. Be cautious of any contractor who tries to pressure you into a bid. You do not have to sign a bid right away, and should take a few days to review your options.