There’s no place quite like home. That’s why finding the best contractor to remodel is so important, whether it’s a first-floor bathroom, finished basement, or new home addition.
It goes without saying that not all remodeling contractors are created equal. So, make sure you’re properly vetting remodeling professionals until you find one that you’re comfortable with. In this post, we’ve provided a checklist to help you find the right remodeling contractor for your next home remodeling project.
We always suggest following the “rule of three” when it comes to finding remodeling contractor prospects. That is, have at least three companies on your shortlist that you get an estimate from. How do you find these companies?
- Personal Referrals: Ask family members, friends and co-workers if they have any recommendations.
- Online Search: Credible websites like Houzz can help connect you with contractors in your area. You might also post to your neighborhood Facebook group or Nextdoor to see if anyone from your larger network has any recommendations.
- Contractor Referrals: Have a trusted plumber, HVAC repair company or electrician that you regularly use? Ask them if they have any recommendations.
Let’s start with the basics. If any of the contractors that you’re considering can’t meet these requirements, we suggest moving on from them immediately:
- Licensed, bonded and insured: If a remodeling contractor you’re considering isn’t licensed, bonded and insured, then we strongly encourage you to move on from them without giving it a second thought. The absence of these best business practices doesn’t just greatly impact their credibility and professionalism, but it potentially could open you up to a lawsuit if a worker were to become injured on your property.
- Online reviews: A great way to get an idea of what it will be like to work with a particular contractor is to read what their former clients have said about them. Visit their websites to read testimonials, then visit third-party resources (Google Reviews, GuildQuality, Houzz, etc.) to see more.
- Accolades and certifications: We strongly encourage you to spend some time viewing the contractors’ websites that you are considering. Look for information on how long they’ve been in business, what services they specialize in, if they sub out their work versus have on-staff workers, etc. Also be sure to look for any industry awards, special certifications or industry association memberships, all of which add credibility.
If you’ve gone through the basics, your next steps should be meet with and “interview” the contractors to assess what they may be like to work with. Here’s a look at what you should be looking for during these meetings:
- Specialties: If you want a kitchen remodel, you probably don’t want to work with a contractor that specializes in basement finishing. No, you’ll want a contractor known for their great kitchen remodels. Make sure that the contractor you move forward with is well-equipped to handle your project.
- Value-Added Services: Does the contractor offer any additional services to help streamline the process? For instance, do they specialize as a design-build contractor or use any other advanced technologies to “see the end project before it is built?” This can help minimize inefficiencies, errors and rework throughout the project. It can also reduce the cost.
- Details: How soon can the contractor start? How vague or detailed are they in providing you with a cost estimate? How long do they expect the project to take? How do they work around children or animals to minimize risk? Are containment methods being considered to minimize dust and debris around other parts of the home?
- References: Ask for references from the contractor you are considering, and call on these references to flush out any concerns you might have.
Finally, there are the intangible factors that need to be considered as well. Here’s a look at a few of them:
- Communication: Whether you’ll be relocating for the duration of the remodel or living in the home as work is being carried out, it’s imperative to know how to get in touch with the contractor and if they’re easily accessible. If you have a question or a concern, you should know exactly how to contact the contractor and what the preferred method of communication is. The last thing you want is to be left hanging for an answer or regularly playing phone tag because a contractor isn’t easily accessible. Make sure you’re comfortable with how to communicate with the contractor or their staff and you’re comfortable speaking with the designated lead project manager.
- Approachability: On the final point in the above bullet point, how approachable is the contractor? Is the contractor someone who can clearly explain aspects of the project and answer your questions in more layman’s terms? Is he/she patient and friendly? Or does the contractor seem standoffish and annoyed when you ask them questions? A good contractor should be looking to earn your business and develop a relationship with you, not make you feel small or unimportant.
- Instinct: Last but not least, trust your gut. If you have a good feeling about a particular contractor, don’t ignore it. We all have instincts for a reason, be sure to trust them.
Ready to talk shop with us? Give us a call today and tell us about your next home project. As a premier remodeling and design-build contractor, we’re eager to hear about your ideas and excited to share our thoughts on how we can take your project from concept to reality. As a licensed, bonded and insured contractor, we cover the basics and all of the intangibles. Above all, we’re dedicated to partnering with you so that you’re not just satisfied with the end result, but also with every phase of the project. For more information and to schedule a consultation, contact us today at 608-257-3034.