The contractor you hire when beginning a home design and remodel can have a big impact on your project’s success. Good contractors use smart business practices and have the proper credentials. Asking the right questions and doing careful research can help you find the right construction professional. Below are 4 important factors to consider when hiring a contractor for your upcoming project.
Good contractors earn their reputation by doing quality work over and over again. Checking your contractor’s reputation will help you separate the good contractors from the others. When checking contractor reputation, find the answers to the following questions:
- Does the contractor normally work in your area?
- Are they bonded, licensed and insured?
- Do they have workers comp insurance?
To answer these questions, check the contractor’s website for information about their licensure and work history. A look at Facebook, Yelp, Houzz, BuildZoom and Angie’s List will give you access to customer reviews. Googling the contractor’s name may also turn up information about their activities in your community. Read what people say about them and see how active and current they are.
Online reviews may vary, but a good contractor will generally get five star ratings from satisfied customers. A glance at the various comments on social media should reveal that most jobs were completed to the customer’s satisfaction, on time, and within the customer’s budget.
Checking references is another way to find out whether your contractor has a good reputation. When checking references, ask each reference the same questions. Some good questions to ask include:
- When did you work with this contractor?
- What kind of work did this contractor do for you?
- Would you hire this contractor again?
- Did the contractor stick to original plan? i.e. finish on time, stick to budget.
A contractor who has done a lot of work in the past should have many references. Ideally, the references your contractor provides should relate to the work being done (i.e., if you’re getting a kitchen design and remodel, the references should have had similar work done on their house). At RL Remodeling we will gladly provide you with a list in your area to talk to and even tour our work and see us in action.
2. Business Practices
A contractor’s business practices can also have a big impact on your ultimate satisfaction with the job being done. Some companies send out a “salesperson,” who then disappears and various crews come in to complete the job. A good contractor will give customers one point of contact for the entire job. That single point of contact helps reduce the chances of a miscommunication. At RL Remodeling we care fully assign a Project Manager for your entire project duration. The Project Manager is chosen based on his experience in your city, type of project, and his availability.
The consultation should always be free, and if multiple consultations are needed, the contractor should comply. This helps ensure the consumer will make a well-informed decision when they hire the contractor. No pressure should ever be made.
Finally, whether the contractor works with sub-contractors or employees is another important factor to consider. Contractors who work exclusively with sub-contractors may not have tight control of the project. Contractors who work exclusively with employees often have an easier time with organization and communication.
Good contractors book up fast! Ask each contractor about their availability as you meet with them, and don’t be surprised if you have to wait for the best contractors. However, a good contractor knows how to manage their time and inform you a head of time of project duration. Furthermore, a good contractor will work around your schedule not theirs.
4. Design and Style
Some contractors don’t do any design work of their own. Homeowners who hire these contractors must first go to an architect to have their design made. Other contractors, sometimes referred to as design-build contractors, have in-house designers for added convenience. You can see their style by looking through their website and viewing photos of previous jobs. At RL Remodeling we have our in home design team. Working with a design team and Project Manager together has many advantages. First, you can make all the needed amendments and changes based on budget and timing prior to plans approval. Many times we are contacted by homeowners who created beautiful designs, later to find out that the cost and timing of their project exceeds their initial budget and expectations. Thus, making their design useless. Carefully monitoring the process, prior to pulling permits and getting plans approved are keys to success.
To sum up, whether you are looking to remodel your kitchen, remodel your bathroom, expand your home or perform a room addition, convert your garage, or simply do a backyard remodel; research well, ask many questions prior to hiring a contractor. This will assure a smooth and easy process with no surprises or bumps in the journey.