Home improvement, be it flooring renewal, bathroom renovation, or interior remodeling, is a huge event. When renovation takes more than the replacement of fixtures, hiring a remodeling contractor is always worth the investment. Why? Industry-specific knowledge and experience, dedicated industrial-class equipment, and the customer-oriented approach of a reputable renovations contractor are key aspects of a successful project. How to find a trusted remodel contractor and avoid scams we will discuss below.
What Does a Contractor Do?
Briefly, a renovations contractor manages a remodeling project from the kick-off to the finish. That means a contractor is in charge to embody your conception of the interior into reality.
Starting from matching a client’s budget and requirements, contractors plan and organize the process. Usually, a contractor is responsible for getting necessary permits and helps with insurance claims in case of post-damage restoration.
A reputable and trustworthy contractor is usually responsible for:
• Budgeting and planning. Detailed project development and thorough planning of all remodeling stages are the keys to success.
• Scheduling work and making adjustments, if required. Some companies have in-house plumbers, electricians, and other specialists, while others cooperate with subcontractors. In any case, all work should be scheduled and completed on time.
• Sourcing materials & supplies and hiring subcontractors if needed.
• Managing and monitoring the project. Pros follow the progress and sometimes adjust the working process in case of unforeseen issues.
• Communicating with clients. Communication with a client is crucial to avoid misunderstanding and disappointment.
Simply put, a competent contractor relieves you from stress and manages the entire interior remodeling process.
Features of a professional contractor
• Communication. A competent contractor is well aware of the dynamic circumstances of remodeling projects, so communicates with clients proactively anticipating potential difficulties. A reliable contractor is always in touch, replies fast to questions, and appreciates feedback.
• Realistic approach. Honesty is the key to success that is why the best contractors provide realistic estimations of costs and timelines.
• Attention to detail. Zoning the area where works will be carried on, a thorough inspection of materials and work quality — reputable contractors don’t leave anything for the chance that client won’t notice.
• Problem-solving ability. Unforeseen issues can happen during the work process; an experienced contractor can offer solutions and adjust to the changed situation.
Choosing a Competent Contractor: Checklist
Before you begin searching for remodeling companies, you’d better determine the major objectives for the renovation: for instance, to improve the kitchen’s functionality or redesign a bathroom.
Once you’ve set up your mind, it is easier to deliver your ideas and goals to a contractor. The checklist below might be helpful to hire contractor that can turn your ideas into reality. Use designer online magazines, showrooms, home improvement platforms, or Pinterest for inspiration.
1. Look for local companies. Every area has its own locality-specific building codes and rules, local companies usually know them well and won’t violate them. Moreover, they can streamline the process of getting the required permits if needed.
2. License. While licensing requirements for contractors vary from state to state, it is crucial to verify that a chosen contractor is fully-licensed and provides certified services. Make sure that license contains the correct company’s name and legal address.
3. Insurance. In most cases, insurance is one of the prerequisites for obtaining a license. However, make sure that a contractor is insured and the workers’ compensation coverage is adequate.
4. Request quotes from several companies. Once you’ve selected several companies and checked that they are licensed, ask for an estimate from at least three companies. This way you will have a clearer idea of the scope of work contractors will provide and can compare rates.
5. Portfolio & reviews. First-hand references are great; however, search for customer reviews on third-party platforms and look for work history reports (if available) and complaints on state-specific websites.
6. Develop a detailed plan. Free online quotes offered by many contractors are great but the optimal solution is to request on-site estimation so that the company representative could see the scope of work first-hand.
7. Sign a contract. When you’ve checked that a contractor meets all your requirements, sign a contract. It should contain all the important aspects of the project, such as a work schedule, permits and their relevant fees, description of services to be provided, terms of payment, etc.
Additionally, you can run interviews with prospective contractors and ask questions that will help you to get a better idea about the company and its expertise. For instance: How long does a company operate in the industry? Do you have examples of the completed projects? Are there any references from customers?
Watch Out for Red Flags
Unfortunately, scammers haven’t disappeared from the industry and you need to be on the lookout to avoid scams. Actually, it’s quite easy to filter out scams — you need to pay attention to red flags:
• No license data or wrong address on a website. Remodeling works cannot be conducted without a license. The same applies to companies with invalid addresses. This is a direct “No”. Never consider contractors with no legal data. Even if they offer the lowest rates, do not opt for companies that are not fully legit. Most probably, they are scams.
• A home contractor requests a large cash deposit. Legit reputable companies won’t request a large cash deposit. If a contractor does so, this might put you on alert.
• Lack of specifics. If you ask for an estimate, and a quote doesn’t contain any detail, drawing, or documents, you’d better look for other contractors. Similarly, be wary of very low estimates as they might not include several items of expenses, such as waste removal, truck service, or permit fees.
• No reviews. Reputation is a solid background for any business, so the absence of reviews or testimonials from customers should generate doubts. Look for reviews on well-known platforms, such as BBB, Trustpilot, and Yelp; they might help to filter out some contractors.
As you see, finding a reliable remodeling contractor isn’t complicated but requires some time and attention to detail. Still, your effort will be paid off with a renewed home of a higher market value.