Many of us imagine how much more we could love our homes if only we could remodel the kitchen or bathroom or perhaps add onto the house. However, remodeling can be scary. We’ve all heard horror stories about contracting jobs that don’t go well. That’s why we want to help you make sure your project is just what you dreamed it would be and not some nightmare.
#1 Dig Deep
A Good Contractor Is More Than Pretty Pictures. When selecting a contractor, do your homework. No matter how great the contractor seems to be with online reviews or even with a friend’s assurance, you must look deeply. First, do ask for referrals and do check online reviews. Look for membership in a reputable trade association, such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Membership alone doesn’t mean the contractor is perfect, but it does show a level of professionalism. Keep in mind, these associations often have standards above state licensing requirements.
Look for a high Better Business Bureau rating. If a contractor has complaints, the BBB really is the longest standing organization dedicated to reviewing customer ratings.
Ask to speak to former clients and call them. A good contractor will be glad you want to talk to them.
#2 Licenses and Insurance
The biggest difference between a fly by night contractor who can offer the lowest price and a reputable contractor who does quality work at a higher rate is insurance. Insuring for workman’s compensation and general liability is expensive. But, could you imagine what would happen if a worker is hurt while working on your home and your contractor does not have workman’s compensation insurance? Guess who is liable? You are. Check to see if the insurance is current and call the insurance agent to confirm that it’s up to date. A good contractor will happily supply you with everything you need to confirm their license and insurance.
#3 Contractor Pulls Permits
Make sure your contractor goes through the permitting process and builds to code. Going through the permitting process is a hassle. Contractors might even advise you skip it or to do it yourself. But, there’s a very good reason to have your contractor do it. It’s their license that’s the one of record. If things aren’t up to code, your contractor will answer to the problems. If you do it yourself or you skip it altogether, you are responsible for any future issues, such as when perhaps you want to sell your home or when something isn’t up to code and someone is injured because of it.
#4 Price Can Be A Red Flag
Do not select your contractor on price alone. If your contractor is the cheapest around, that should be a red flag. It may mean he or she isn’t fully insured or it could mean that they don’t have the credentials needed to charge a higher price. If anyone is way below other contractors who seem to be on the same level with photographs of the work, then you have to wonder why their price is so much lower. If they aren’t a member of trade associations, they can cut down on expenses, but if something does go wrong, you can’t turn to the association for help or mediation and the consequence of you being disappointed probably won’t hurt them too much. If you go with the cheapest, don’t be surprised if you end up “getting just what you paid for”.
#5 Go With Your Gut
Be sure you get a good feeling from your contractor. If something in your gut says this isn’t the right person, listen to your intuition. You will be working very closely with this person and their crew. They will be in your home for days on end. You should get the feeling they are honest, happy to listen, calm, and genuine. If something does happen that you don’t like, you want to feel secure that they will understand your concerns. If you don’t make that connection, then keep interviewing. You will know when it feels right. Remodeling is so personal. Contractors are coming in and out while you are trying to live. So, select a contractor who is happy to let you “dig deep” and supply everything you need to feel comfortable. If you found this article to be helpful, please share it with your friends. It can make a big difference!