Remodeling can be a dream project for a homeowner. Or a distressing nightmare. Finding the right contractor makes all the difference, but how do you know?
Now that it’s spring, for many people, it's time for that home remodeling project you’ve been thinking about. Whether it’s a makeover of the kitchen or simply an upgrade for your master bathroom, a remodel can improve your living space and add value to your home.
Now that it appears the economy is beginning to improve and the weather is finally cooperating, homeowners are ready to start small projects and beginning to spend more time planning.
Finding a Good Contractor: Choosing Wisely
The real challenge for many homeowners is in settling on a reliable, affordable, and efficient contractor for those projects that require a professional. There is no shortage of residential contractors, but knowing who to hire can be intimidating for some and feel like a spin on a roulette wheel for others.
There are a number of key points you should consider when choosing a contractor and anyone can make a smart choice if you follow these guidelines.
Here are seven tips for getting a great contractor for your next home improvement project:
Ask for Recommendations
You might start by asking friends and family. But don’t stop there - check the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for a list of members in your area. Building inspectors can be a great resource as they will know which contractors are typically recommended in their area. Review sites such as Angie’s List or Diamond Certified can often provide a wealth of information and recommendations, as well.
While referrals and recommendations are definitely valuable sources, don’t give in to the temptation to simply go with the first contractor you find. There’s much more to this scale of decision making.
Be Sure to Get Bids
Now that you’ve talked to friends, family, and neighbors, it’s time to make some phone calls and ask for bids from your top choices. Get as many bids as you can. If any of the bids you receive seem suspiciously low you may want to eliminate that contractor from your list. Even though it may be tempting to go with the lowest bid, it’s quite likely that the contractor is in the habit of cutting corners by using cheaper materials or sub-par labor. And you may find that the “value” contractor you hired suddenly finds that your project is actually going to cost more than was initially estimated.
Check Credentials and Work History
For a contractor, there a number of points you should consider. Look for a contractor who has been in business for at least a few years and one who is licensed and registered according to the regulations in your state. If possible, determine if the contractor is insured and, of course, has a good reputation. This means checking with Make sure that they also have a clean bill of health from the Better Business Bureau and from your state’s consumer protection agency. You want to make sure he or she does not have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.
Meet in Person
After you have compiled a list of solid referrals and their bids, narrow your list to three or four contractors, if possible, and arrange to meet them in person. This should take place at your home so the contractor can see the project you’re envisioning and be able to answer your questions. This is also an opportunity to determine how easily you can communicate with one another.
It's important for you to be able to communicate well since this is likely to be a large investment on your part and because the contractor will be in your home for a number of hours, or even days. On another note, you also want to know that you feel comfortable working with this individual.
Don’t Decide Based on Price
This is where the old maxim, “You get what you pay for.” is particularly true. Unlike a car or new outfit, you can’t simply “return” a poor remodeling job. Quality should trump price. In addition to ensuring value labor, keep in mind that you may be spending a great deal of time working with your choice. Try to choose the contractor with whom you feel comfortable with their personality, communication style, and business methods. Most importantly, be certain that you are both clear on the details and scope of your project.
Always Get a Contract
As much as a great referral and handshake matters, you still need a contract. The truth is, both parties are protected this way. There are other reasons for a written, detailed contract, as well. It allows you both to have a plan on paper that includes such details a work timetable, complete with starting and finish dates, a description of the work that will be done, materials to be used, and a payment agreement.
In addition, the contract should provide for such things how any disputes might be addressed and suitable time limits for fixing any mistakes or defects. Peace of mind around remodeling projects goes both ways.
Determine a Payment Plan
One expert warns that you should never pay a contractor more than 30 percent upfront. A recommended plan would include a 15 to 20 percent deposit upfront, with periodic payments through the course of the project, and with at least 10 percent to be paid only after the job is completed satisfactorily.
As the client, you do need to be reasonable, however. Your contractor probably needs as much as you can pay throughout the span of the project in order to fund his or her expenses. But by avoiding paying most or all of the estimate in full upfront or before the project is complete is the best way to ensure that the project is done when and how you want it.
Wrapping it Up
Everyone has heard the expression, “You get what you pay for.” This saying is never more relevant than when you're planning a home improvement or remodeling project that involves hiring a contractor. Going by price alone increases the risk of project failure and can lead to higher costs down the road.
With the proper planning and a knowledgeable contractor, you can be assured of a job well done at a reasonable cost. Remember that home improvement or remodeling can be a fun experience for both you and your family. You should always choose the contractor you feel most comfortable working with.
And when it comes to cleaning up (before or after the project) finding a reliable junk removal firm is just as critical.
Junk King is your choice for that part of your project.
Concerned about your project costs? Junk hauling can actually save you money, too. You pay us one flat fee based on the volume of trash. Save the money you would have spent on special construction waste trash bags, dumpsters, and gasoline. And save the precious cost of your free time!
The best reason to choose Junk King for your construction debris removal, though, is simply how easy it is. Make an appointment and you’re done!
Schedule Junk Removal For Your Remodeling Project
Make the call to Junk King to schedule an appointment that works best for your schedule. If your project is creating large amounts of trash that get in the way, you can schedule a pickup midway through the project and again at the end. Or just wait until you’ve hammered the last nail — and we’ll show up on-time and ready to haul everything.
It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. You make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).