Hiring a Home Remodeler for Home Repair
Put simply, hiring the right home remodeler is a big deal. It’s a decision you want to get right.
With an eye toward experience, professionalism, and expertise, let’s explore the nuts and bolts of choosing a home remodeling contractor. Finding the right remodelers probably won’t be an easy decision, and that’s okay. You should challenge yourself to identify the best talent with the greatest likelihood of success. By the time you arrive at a hiring decision, you should feel confident that the team you selected will either meet or exceed your expectations.
Determine What Type of Remodeler You Need
- Design/build contractors: These firms provide an all-in-one remodeling package. Teams consist of designers and/or architects, consultants, and builders, all of whom you can hire at once. Design/build contractors handle all sorts of projects, large and small, and some may specialize in kitchens, bathrooms, or another type of remodeling.
- Architects: Big remodeling projects – as in “reinventing your house” big – require precise construction drawings for contracts and permits. In these cases, it’s often best to hire an architect with remodeling experience. Though trained in design theory, the architect’s primary role is to ensure structural soundness and efficient use of space.
- Designers: Whereas an architect is concerned with spatial constraints, structural issues, and building compliance, a designer’s job is to create beautiful, inviting interior conditions. Colors, shapes, styles, lighting… these are the designers’ chief concerns. Designers often specialize (think kitchen, bathroom, or living area designers), so take that into account before beginning your search.
- General contractors: While general contractors usually focus on materials and methods (i.e. building), experienced practitioners can often eliminate the need to hire additional help. The more straightforward your requirements, the more likely it is that a contractor can take care of everything – no architect or designer required. General contractors can also join the remodeling effort after you approve a floor plan or design created by someone else.
Connect with your contractor
The right person for the job will be easy to talk to. Make sure you see eye to eye by hiring a contractor that understands your goals and has experience in the type of job you are looking for. Communication is key for all projects, so insist on regular contact by email, phone or text messages. Allow the work crew to manage their day-to-day work, but set up a weekly face-to-face update from the foreman.
Understand that price reflects quality
Ask your contractor for his or her recommendations on how the project should take place. In the long run, is it worth cutting corners for a temporary fix? The lowest bid is not always the best. Request a written description of the materials necessary for the job. A low bid may indicate that a contractor uses sub-par materials or is desperate for work. The more accurate bid is likely somewhere in the middle.
Ask for licensing and certification
At this point, your list should have around six to eight names. One easy way to narrow it further is to ask for contractors’ licensing and certification. The specific licenses or certifications your home improvement contractor should carry will depend on the project. Since legal requirements vary by state, call the licensing division for your community to ask for specific requirements.
In addition to making sure contractors have the correct licenses and certification to complete the job safely and legally, make sure anyone on your list has liability insurance in case they damage your home. The contractor and any other workers should also be covered by worker’s compensation. Ask for a copy of their insurance policies and check that they’re up to date.
Cross any contractors off your list who don’t have the right credentials. I also recommend marking off names of anyone who is hesitant or takes too long to get this information to you.
Hire a Trustworthy Remodeling Company Today
Do your research, call around, and find the remodeling company that suits your needs going forward. When it comes to changing up the look and aesthetic of your home, there is no room to cut corners. Invest in the care you deserve from the very start. Hire the right remodeling contractor today.
Make Plans, Get Bids
You have your short list of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it’s time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.
Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide
Throw out the lowball bid, This contractor is probably cutting corners or, worse, desperate for work”—hardly an encouraging sign in a healthy economy. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal or greater role in your decision. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it’s better to spend more and get someone you’re comfortable with when hiring a contractor.