How to Choose a Remodeling Contractor
Investing in an upgrade at your home? Choose your partner wisely!
Ever have difficulty deciding where you want to go out to eat? You want Mexican, but your partner is thinking Chinese. Some place nice, or more casual? Eat there or bring it home? Maybe you’re worried about the wait, or the cost, or what your neighbors said about there first trip to that new place… You get the idea – something as simple as dinner can be a decision-making nightmare.
Imagine now that you need to make a decision about who will remodel your home! This is your sanctuary, your safe space from a dark and cruel world – and you are going to allow someone you don’t know to show up with their workers and tools to tear up everything, in the hopes that it goes back together better than before. On top of all that uncertainty, this project is going to be an investment of your hard-earned money! This is a decision not to be made lightly.
So, what’s a homeowner to do? Here are some tips from experts at This Old House and HGTV:
- Get Recommendations. Ask friends and families about people they know or have used. Check with local lumberyards to see who does a lot of work – and is good about paying their bills. You could talk to local building department officials who know the area contractors. Get information from contractor websites, but be careful to verify what you see there. (The ability to create a good website is not necessarily the indicator of a strong contractor)
- Interview prospective remodelers. Do they take on projects of your size? Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks? Can they give you a list of previous clients? How many other projects would they have going at the same time? How long have they worked with their subcontractors? The answers to these questions will reveal the company's availability, reliability, how much attention they'll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.
- Get things in writing. Expect a reputable, professional contractor to provide you with detailed written documents. Scope of work, payment schedule and change order processes should all be spelled out in writing before the first hammer is swung.
- Don’t shop on price alone. Certainly, the budget is an important part of the project, but beware of going with the lowest bidder based solely on his or her price. A cheap bid may be a reflection of a desperate contractor, or one who will cut corners. Beyond technical competence, your comfort level with the people or organization should play an equal or greater role in your decision. After all, you will be opening your home to these folks and you will be working closely with them for several weeks or more.
If you have a project coming up soon, we would be honored to be considered for the job. We are happy to give you our references, show you pictures of our work and provide all the written documentation you could ask for. Just don’t ask us to pick a place for dinner…
Thanks for reading.