When selecting a remodeling contractor, it is crucial to do your research and choose wisely. We’ve all heard nightmare-ish stories from friends and neighbors of remodeling jobs gone wrong and the headache and expense that comes along with choosing an inexperienced or unqualified contractor. Feel informed and confident by following these suggestions on how to select a remodeling contractor.
Word of mouth referrals are often some of the best ways to select a qualified remodeling contractor (and know who to avoid). Ask around to friends, coworkers, family, and neighbors to see who they’ve hired and if they would recommend them. Consider using social media to get local recommendations from friends and followers in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions such as, what kind of work they hired the contractor for, what made their experience a positive one, and even whether the contractors were friendly and clean. Make a list with notes so you can easily compare contractors and look them up online. Be wary of hiring a contractor that doesn’t have contact information easily available or lacks a website with information about their company.
Check Licensing and Certifications
Once you have a list of contractors you are interested in pursuing, do a bit of preliminary research to determine whether or not the contractor holds all required licenses from local and state municipalities. If the contractor doesn’t list their credentials on their website, you should be able to call and get that information without any issue. They may also have designations from other professional associations like the National Association of Homebuilders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or National Kitchen and Bath Association. These additional credentials aren’t necessary, but if the contractor has invested extra time to gain more certifications, that is a good sign! You should also look into whether or not they carry the proper insurance that protects you from liability. Don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of their insurance to be sure!
Check References and Reviews
Does the remodeling contractor have a positive reputation within the community? Reach out to the contractors you are considering, ask them for references, and then contact their former customers. This allows you to get information from someone who worked with the contractor directly. Ask how well the contractors executed the project, whether they stayed on budget and on time, if they kept the job site neat, and whether they were happy with the final outcome. If a prospective contractor is unable to supply you with references, you may want to beware. Don’t forget to check Google or Yelp reviews to see how people are rating them online.
Review Examples of Past Work
Once you have narrowed your list down to a few top contenders, ask to see examples of their past work. Many high-quality remodeling contractors have a portfolio of their previous work readily available on their website or social media pages. If you can visit the site of a finished project that is similar to the work you will need to be done, that may give you the best opportunity to evaluate the quality. If you visit in person, be on the lookout for a few red flags. These could include the use of cheap materials, noticeable seams on countertops, poor lighting, paint runs/streaks/splatter, and crooked or cracked tiles, to name a few.
Create a Budget and Prioritize Projects
One of the last steps is to speak with the contractors you are still considering hiring for the job. You should be able to set up a consultation and discuss your budget, the needs for your home, a timeline, and what is realistic. Start your budget conversation early with your family and contractor. What makes sense to invest in the home? How will the project be funded? Are there multiple projects and which will take priority? Talk with a handful of contractors before you talk to the bank and take the time to evaluate each budget.
Kliethermes Homes & Remodeling has more than 40 years of experience! Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you with your next remodeling project!