Home remodeling projects are on the rise, with an estimated 70% of homeowners planning to do some type of update in their home. Unfortunately, updates don’t always go as planned. DIY work rarely goes as smoothly as planned and contractors aren’t always as honest or hard-working as they say they are. If you want to avoid a complete nightmare with improvements to your home, then we recommend digging deep into the person or company you hire.
1. Create a List of Options
Ask friends and family if they have any recommendations for remodeling contractors in the area. Since so many people have been getting this type of work done, you’ll get at least a few excellent recommendations. While it can be tempting to ask real estate agents as well, they can be biased because of professional relationships and may not offer you honest advice. If your list of recommended contractors is short, search for companies in your area online that seem like good options.
2. Look at Past Projects
Take the time to look at projects that the companies on your list have completed in the past. By doing so, you’ll be able to see the quality of their work and where their specialties lie. Most photos can be found either online or through the company’s portfolio when you meet with them. We also recommend looking on any social media pages they own to see projects as they are completed.
As you look through photos, you should be able to narrow down your choices based on work that you like and don’t like. When it comes to contractors who don’t have photos or a social media presence, it’s a good idea to avoid them to be safe. Since you’re spending so much money, you want peace of mind that the work they do will be the highest quality.
3. Research Reviews
The recommendations of contractors from your friends and family can serve as positive reviews. However, reading reviews from other customers can give you a better look at the overall experience a contractor provides. The easiest way to do this is by going online and looking up the name on a review website. Read both good and bad reviews to get in-depth information about why clients did or did not like the contractor. However, if there are more bad reviews than good, this is a sign that you may not want to work with that person or company.
4. Check for a License
There are many unlicensed and uninsured individuals who work as home remodeling contractors. Unfortunately, it’s a huge gamble to hire one of these people, as their lack of professional certificates can put you at risk. We encourage all homeowners to call their local licensing division to learn about licensing requirements that home contractors should have when working. Write this down and make sure your contractor has these professional licenses with the state.
Aside from licenses and certifications, we urge you to make sure your contractor is carrying liability and worker’s comp insurance. These policies will protect you if they are hurt while working or end up causing damage within your home. All insurance should be valid and current to give you the protection that you need for any type of project.
5. Call References
Almost all contractors have a list of references that will vouch for their work. As you narrow down your list, we recommend calling the references for each of the contractors you have left. Ask if the job site was kept clean, the work was the quality that they expected and if they showed up on time. Compile a list of questions that are most important and try to keep the conversation short and sweet. Write down any notes as you converse and keep in mind any negative feedback that you hear.
If a reference seems open to it, ask if they will allow you to see the work that the contractor did in person. When you see the area completed, look at the details such as the paint, materials, grout lines, caulking, and surfaces. By looking at the details, you’ll get a better idea of what you can expect when working with them.
6. Get Bids From a Few Contractors
After you narrow down the list to a few contractors; ask them for bids for your project. These should be done in writing and after seeing your home in person. Once you receive each of the bids, compare them as a whole so you can determine who will be the best fit. While it can be tempting to only look at the price, also consider the smaller details of the project. This should include the timeline, additional fees, how many people will be working, and the materials that they will use.
A Contractor You Can Rely On
We know it can be a lot of work to find a good contractor for your home remodeling project. However, by sifting through the options carefully, you’ll be sure to find someone who will do a great job. With that, they can become your go-to contractor for updates as you need them.