Remodeling contractors are essential allies in your home remodeling journey. However, hiring a remodeling contractor can be challenging. After all, sometimes it may seem like there are many options available, but you don’t know how to hire a remodeling contractor,
But the question is, how does one sort through everything to find the perfect remodeling contractor for your project. On the other hand, few homeowners have the time, ability, and experience to do it all themselves.
If you are getting ready to start a big remodel, we are here to help. When choosing a remodeling contractor near you, following these simple steps will help you ensure your project is a pleasant experience from start to finish.
Get Referrals and Recommendations
Start with your family and friends, and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of contractors in your area.
Besides, you can talk with a building inspector to know which home remodeling contractors routinely meet code requirements.
You should focus on remodeling companies that can show their prior experience with your type of project, preferably with testimonials and work samples.
Look at the Credentials
With referrals in hand, do some preliminary research, whether it is with a simple phone call or a visit to the contractor’s website. Further, find out whether they hold all the necessary licenses from state and local municipalities.
Find contractors who have invested in coursework and passed rigorous tests to earn specific certifications. But be aware that not all certificates are created equal. You need to do some homework and find out the requirements for the right contractor.
Interview Multiple Contractors
Once you have found four to five remodeling contractors that seem eligible for doing the work, you will have to interview them. Ask them questions about whether or not they have ever taken on a project of your scale.
Once you have the list of contractors, make a quick call to each one of them and ask these questions:
- Can you take on a project of my size?
- Do you have any financial references from suppliers or banks?
- What will be the length of the bathroom remodel?
- Can you provide a list of previous clients?
- How many other projects would you be working on along with mine?
- How long have you worked with other subcontractors?
The answer to these questions will reveal the contractor’s reliability, availability, and how much attention they will give to your project, and how smoothly the work will go.
Meet Face to Face
After the telephonic interview, pick three or four contractors to meet in person for estimates and further discussion. A contractor must answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease.
Moreover, you two must communicate well because that person will be in your home mostly for hours. In contrast, don’t get fooled by the personality.
Check in with your state’s consumer protection agency along with your local business bureau before hiring a remodeling contractor to ensure they don’t have any historical disputes with other clients.
Investigate the Facts
Now that you have narrowed down your list put your research to use. Call up former clients, find out how their project went, and ask to see the finished product.
However, don’t rely on results alone. Instead, visit a current job site and see how the kitchen remodeling contractor works with your own eyes. Is the job site safe and clean? Are workers courteous and careful regarding the homeowner’s property? These are some of the observations you can make during your visit.
Make Plans, Get Bids
You have your shortlisted contractors whose track records seem clean and work ethic looks responsive. Now it is time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project.
An honest contractor will want a complete set of blueprints and a sense of what homeowners want out of the project and what they plan to spend.
To compare bids, ask everyone for a remodeling costs breakdown, including materials, labor, profit margins, and other expenses. Admittedly, materials account for 40 percent of the total cost, and the rest covers overhead and the typical margin that is usually 15 to 20 percent.
Set up a Payment Schedule
One of the most important tips to hire a remodeling contractor is to work out a payment schedule ahead of time. Payment schedules can speak about the contractor’s financial status and work ethic.
If a contractor asks for half the bid up front, they may have financial troubles or be worried that you won’t pay the rest after seeing the work.
For large-scale projects, a schedule generally starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly distributed throughout the project, and the final check of 15 percent when you feel every item on your list has been completed.
Put it in Writing
Once you have decided to hire a remodeling contractor you feel is the best fit for your job, make sure to get the terms and conditions of their quote into a legally binding contract.
Further, this contract must include items like a payment schedule and the process to make changes to the original project terms. Also, you should ensure that both parties sign the contract.
Although no one wants to think of a bad outcome, having a signed contract will give you a way for legal recourse if something goes wrong during the course of your remodel.
However, keep in mind that true professional contractors will understand that having terms in writing will protect both of you.
Be Flexible to a Point
Remodeling will, unfortunately, never be an exact science. Moreover, even the best contractors will sometimes run into unexpected problems once they open up walls, or in-climate weather may slow down the remodeling process.
Homeowners should presume a little wiggle room in terms of both budget and remodeling length.
While that being said, there is still a limit. If the kitchen remodeling contractor keeps pushing your project aside for other ventures or keeps racking up charges that don’t make sense, you should not be afraid to find someone else to finish the job.