You can’t always DIY home renovations, especially if it’s a huge home remodeling project. You’ll need the help of a professional contractor — someone who knows how to deliver the best work at the most reasonable time and costs. In this article, we’ll talk about the four key tips you should follow to find a great remodeling contractor. Read on!
1. Check Credentials and Experience
The first thing you can do is to seek referrals from friends and family. Ask them if they’ve had a great experience with a contractor, and then do your preliminary research. Find out whether the contractor holds all required licenses and designations from professional associations.
Home remodeling contractors — such as this Remodeling Contractor in Cumming, Georgia — and even subcontractors should be licensed. Licenses are there to prove that they’ve been trained and have worked for the type of project you have. Also, checking if the contractor has the right licenses reassures you of their work quality and that they can legally start and finish the job.
2. Interview Candidates and References
Part of your research effort is interviewing your contracting candidates. Try to narrow down your list to three candidates since interviewing more contractors can become confusing. While interviewing them, note how they answer questions — are they confident? Can they supply the right details for your inquiries? What kinds of words are they using? Do they seem to hide anything?
Their body language is as important as their words. Observe how they present themselves professionally. Communication goes both ways: they should also show interest in your project and ask many questions about it.
During or after the interview, ask them to provide references or see some of their previous projects. Call their previous customers to check up on them and ask about the contractor’s work quality and ethics. Ask if they’re satisfied with the project’s outcome and whether or not they want to change anything from their engagement. Doing this helps you set expectations correctly and weed out contractors that might not be a good fit for your project based on their work history.
3. Seek Bids
When you found your top two or three contractors, ask for well-defined bids. Define your plans and show them any blueprints you have. Tell them how much you’re willing to spend and ask for a full quote with a detailed breakdown of costs and estimates.
Request for a comprehensive estimate of costs for labor, materials, and other expenses that might come up. As a general rule, 40% of the cost should be spent on materials and 40% should be allocated for labor and other expenses. The profit margin is around 20%.
Once you have bids that you like, start the negotiation process. Make sure the contract is detailed. More importantly, you should feel 100% comfortable with the agreement — not necessarily its price — before the project starts. Once the contractor starts to work, it’s difficult to change the terms of the contract and its pricing. Over-communicate to ensure no detail is left vague or unclear.
4. Iron Out the Agreement Details
Finally, put everything in writing and iron out every single detail in the agreement. Make sure the contract document has the following:
- Outline of the work
- Bids and costs
- Subcontractor information
- Payment methods and schedules
- Material detail
Any subsequent changes to the project should also be documented and signed. Addendums can be for changes in materials, cost estimates, or finish dates. Include basic ground rules such as when the time of work should begin, and the level of tidiness expected at the end of every workday. Be reasonably flexible — even the best contractors can’t possibly foresee every problem that may during a remodeling project.