Whether you are doing a basic bathroom remodel or updating the whole house, home remodeling is an undertaking that is important enough to make it worth the effort to find the right remodeling contractor. That may sound like it is easier said than done though, if you are not familiar with the industry.
We’ve put together this list of tips to help you gather the information you need so that you can determine and hire the best remodeling contractor for your project.
1. Make Use of Referrals
If you work with a designer, they probably have a relationship with at least one remodeling contractor. They will be a great source of information because they will have experience with different companies and know who does good reliable work. Referrals from friends and family are also valuable. They won’t have as much information as someone who works in the industry, but if there were problems with their remodeling project, they will let you know about it.
2. Check Credentials and Certifications
It is important for remodeling contractors to stay up to date and to get training on materials and technologies, not to mention staying abreast of the ever-changing rules and regulations related to buildings and construction. Ask potential contractors what certifications they have earned. It’s also a good idea to find out what professional associations they are a member of. Some of the major ones to look for are the National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Remodeling Industry, and American Subcontractors Association of Arizona.
3. Verify Business Is Licensed, Bonded, and Insured
If the contractor isn’t licensed, you may be held responsible for illegal activity on your property, so only work with licensed contractors. Protect your investment and your home by making sure that any contractor you do business with is insured and bonded in addition to being licensed.
4. Look at Ratings and Reviews
The Better Business Bureau is one of the most respected and long-lasting resources for information on service providers, so be sure to check your contractor’s history there. The internet also has many review sites where customers leave reports of their experiences. You have to use good judgement to decide which reviews will influence your decisions because there are always people online who blow things out of proportion or simply like to rant. The uncensored nature of the internet draws them like flies. The majority of reviewers try to be fair though, so you can get a lot of good information from them. Yelp, Houzz, and Customer Lobby are all good sources of reviews. The easiest way to find them is just to do a Google or Bing search for “XYX contractor reviews.”
5. Consider Specializations
Within the remodeling industry, there are some areas of specialization that may be relevant to your job, and a contractor with certification and experience in that area will be able to meet your needs much better. For example, universal design is one of our specializations, so we have certified professionals on staff to help with your remodeling design, so that you will have the latest and most stylish elements incorporated to assist anyone with disabilities and to facilitate aging in place. This is beneficial for you if you are intending to stay in your home for a long time, and especially here in Phoenix, where many homebuyers are retirees, it makes your home much more desirable when it comes time to sell.
6. Verify Quality of Work
Once you have selected your most likely candidate, you need to confirm that their work is of good quality and that they complete it in a timely manner. It’s a good idea to find out if they have done work similar to yours. Include the size and scope in this query; don’t just ask whether they have done a kitchen remodel. It isn’t necessarily possible to contact past clients personally because of respect for their privacy, but the contractor can show you photos from the job and should have records indicating whether timelines were met and if cost estimates were exceeded.
7. Inquire about Exclusions
Make sure you find out what is not included in the work— and the price—you are contracting for. This is especially important when comparing bids to make sure you make a fair comparison and understand what the overall cost will be. One of the benefits of working with an experienced contractor is that they are aware of all the little things that make up a big job. Each task involves a cost, and if these are overlooked or omitted from the initial discussion and cost estimate, you will end up paying much more than you expected to when it is all said and done.
8. Get a Schedule
Ask for a week-by-week schedule of the project that should include an available start date, time for ordering materials, when payments will be expected, and phases of the work itself.
If you would like more information on hiring a remodeling contractor, or if you are ready to discuss your own project, give us a call at 623-544-1211. Our certified design professionals have assisted Phoenix area residents with their remodeling plans for all kinds of homes and would be happy to help you too.