Diving into an intense home renovation project can be intimidating, but we’ll show you how to find a home remodeling contractor you can trust.
Planning renovations to your home can be one of the most exciting times for a homeowner.
For a lot of people though, that excitement is spoiled when they think about hiring a contractor.
Finding an honest contractor who does good work can seem very difficult. Especially if this is your first time working with one.
Don’t stress out too much though, this easy to follow guide will cover all the basics of hiring a home remodeling contractor and give you some things to look out for.
Get Recommendations and Multiple Bids
The best place to start when hiring a general contractor is your friends and family. Ask around and find out if anyone can recommend someone to you. Odds are someone you know will have had some work done recently.
This gives you a place to start and lets you quickly weed out any contractors people have had bad experiences with. It can also help you identify excellent local contractors.
Online review sites are another excellent place to look for recommendations. High-quality contractors will have a great rating and numerous reviews. Once you’ve narrowed it down a bit you can also check out their websites. Better websites definitely don’t always equal better contractors but it can show their dedication and professionalism.
You’ll want to always get multiple bids. That helps you establish a baseline for your area and can help eliminate extremely low or high bids. Make sure you always do your research to find out more about any potential contractors.
Only Hire a Bonded and Insured Home Remodeling Contractor
This should go without saying, but you should never hire a contractor that isn’t bonded and insured. If you’re getting plumbing or electrical work done you should also make certain they’re licensed in your state.
Bonding gives you a financial recourse if a contractor is unable to finish a job or does it poorly. It can also help you recover if they cause damage to your home during their work.
Insurance mainly relates to on the job injuries by their workers. In some states, you can find yourself liable if a contractor injures themselves on your property. Insurance will cover the injuries and protect you.
Never hire a plumber or electrician who isn’t licensed. Unlicensed tradesman may know what they’re doing but they are unlikely to draw the proper permits. It’s just not worth the risk.
Ask For References and Pictures
Any contractor worth their salt will be happy to provide you with references for their previous work. This shows that they’re confident past clients were fully satisfied with the work they did.
In many cases, you can find testimonials and pictures on a contractors website. You may even find new ideas for your own renovation by looking at work they’ve done before. It’s a major red flag if a contractor seems unwilling or hesitant to provide a reference.
This can sometimes come down to a new contractor trying to get a start in the industry. You can save money by taking a risk on a new or inexperienced contractor. This can sometimes come back to bite you though. Always find out what level of experience potential contractors have and what kind of projects they usually work on.
You don’t want to hire a commercial structures contractor to renovate your bathroom. If you can, find a contractor who is a specialist in what you want. Believe it or not, there are contractors who do nothing but high-end bathrooms or kitchens.
Expect the Work To Match The Price
When dealing with contractors, you get what you pay for generally applies. If you want a spectacular renovation you’ll probably need to pay a spectacular price. That isn’t to say you should accept shoddy work, just that the level of craftsmanship and materials needed directly affect pricing.
Most contractors are willing to work with you on price within reason. Always be upfront with any contractor about your budget. In many cases they’re happy to help you stretch your money as far as it will go.
You just need to make sure you aren’t picturing a $5,000 job in your head while taking $2,000 bids from contractors. Look around online before you start looking for a contractor. Find out the general costs of the features you want and manage your expectations accordingly.
Get Everything In Writing
Probably the most important piece of advice when dealing with any service professional is to get things in writing. You want to have everything you want to be done and a well thought out estimate of repairs before the first hammer is swung.
Make sure the exact specifications of what you want are spelled out. If you’re vague in the planning period there’s a much greater chance you’ll end up with a negative outcome. Always establish exactly what you’re looking for before the job begins and build in check-in points along the way.
Be as specific as you can. Contractors love a client who knows what they want and isn’t afraid to ask for it. Dealing with someone who ‘thinks’ they want it to be kind of reddish and like 3-4 feet tall can be a nightmare. Always take plenty of time to figure out what features you want.
If you have a contract that also gives you more leverage for keeping costs down. Make sure that all overages and changes have to be approved by you in writing. Not only does it encourage the contractor to watch the work more closely but it also gives you the ability to see exactly what everything costs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go With Your Gut
Having someone working inside your home is one of the most personal interactions you’ll deal with. If you feel any sense of unease or doubt about a home remodeling contractor don’t hesitate to do something about it. It’s much better to spend a little more time looking for a contractor than hire someone who does a poor job.