How to Hire a Remodeling Contractor
Learning how to hire a remodeling contractor is as crucial as the remodel itself. The right contractor will help you in design choices, can provide you several options, and will advise you in pitfalls that are common in home remodels. Consequently, choosing the wrong contractor will lead you to a stressful project that often cost more than the initial estimate.
Preparation for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor
Proper preparation is key to a successful remodel for both the customer and the contractor. Before beginning the process of choosing a remodeling contractor, the homeowner should start to compile ideas and pictures of the design and style that they want. Additionally, have a realistic budget for the project in mind. When considering your budget, remember that remodels may uncover additional issues that will need to be addressed as well. Foundation issues, rotted wood, and old electrical wiring are common examples of problems that may arise and need to be repaired. We recommend 10-15% of your budget be reserved for these kinds of issues.
Researching Remodeling Contractors
Now that you have a budget and a good idea of your project needs, its time to research contractors. Begin by searching for remodeling contractors or construction companies in your city. Choose companies that have a decent amount of reviews. Many companies will have reviews on several different websites, so be sure to look at them all. Be aware that some companies will pay for fake reviews; it is wise to read them carefully. Better Business Bureau is also a great place to research your contractor. BBB ratings have been a trustworthy source for decades.
Ask for Remodeling References
Ask for a list of references from each contractor. Asking for references may seem obvious, but many customer do not ask.
Interview the Contractors
We are not talking a 60 Minutes type interview but do speak with your contractors. Get a good feel for how the contractor communicates. Remodels are stressful, so make sure you feel comfortable with the contractor you choose to hire.
Ask for Proof of General Liability Insurance
All general contractors should carry general liability insurance (GL) with plenty of coverage for the work they perform. It is common for cities to require contractors to present proof GL insurance to register as contractors and pull permits. If your contractor can not provide such proof, that is a red flag. Do not hire a contractor without GL insurance.
Know Which Remodeling Contractors to Avoid
Most reputable construction companies will all operate along the same lines. Reputable companies will provide you with a detailed estimate and a contract prior to start business. Often these companies will provide multiple payment options and possibly offer financing, as well. Likewise, bad contractors and scam artists have similar characteristics that we will list now.
Characteristics of Contractors to Avoid
- They demand cash payment
- They do not have General Liability Insurance
- They provide handwritten estimates
- They are not listed on the internet
- Pressures you into starting quickly
Hiring the Remodeling Contractor
With a clear understanding of what to look for and what not to look for in a remodeling contractor, it is now time to hire. Remember that while using the information in this article to chose a remodeling contractor, it is only meant to be guidelines, and your gut feeling is often the most important. Feeling comfortable with your contractor helps to ensure that your project will be more pleasurable.
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