Your home is an intensely personal space. If you’ve made the exciting decision to remodel your house, one of the most important decisions you will make is how to choose a remodeling contractor. You don’t want just anyone working on your home. In fact, you want a highly qualified, trustworthy and conscientious team of professionals who are committed to helping you remodel a living space that fits your functional needs and design style. Taking the time upfront to research and ask the right questions is not only time well spent, but will ensure you select the right remodeling contractor for you.
The Ultimate Checklist for Vetting Potential Remodeling Contractors
#1 Research and Assemble a List of Remodeling Contenders
A simple Google search is an excellent place to start assembling names of local home remodeling contractors in your area. Use words that describe what you’re looking for and your location. For example, search for “home remodeling contractor Lafayette” or “kitchen and bath remodeling West Lafayette”.
A safe and reliable way to assemble remodeling contractors is to reach out to your friends, family, and co-workers for any recommendations they may have. Do you have a neighbor who just had some remodeling done? Ask them about their experience and if they would recommend them. Your local hardware store may also have some good suggestions as well.
#2 Conduct a Thorough Website Review
Once you’ve assembled your preliminary list of home remodeling contractors, review each company’s website. This is an easy way to find critical information that will help shape your decision. You should be able to find answers to important questions like:
- Are they bonded and insured?
- Do they have a physical office location?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have staff, or only use subcontractors? What is the longevity of their staff?
- What special certifications or qualifications does the company have in performing a similar remodeling project as yours?
Qualified home remodeling contractors should also feature a project portfolio or sampling of their work. Take some time to peruse past projects and see what speaks to you. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then look at the finished project photos as an informative way to get a sense of the type of work they do. Moreover, some remodeling firms only specialize in kitchens and baths, for example, and may not remodel other areas of the home, like basements or additions. This should help you rule out some contenders depending on the type of work you want to have done.
Another important distinction is the type of remodeling contractor you want to work with. Are they a full-service design build firm or a general contractor? What’s the difference? The quick answer is that a general contractor works independently from an architect. As a homeowner, you would be responsible for finding an architect first—someone who produces a set of architectural design plans for you. Then, you would hire a general contractor independently to build the remodel from the set of drawings provided by the architect.
On the other hand, a design build company takes care of all the remodeling and design under one roof to make the integration of your project easier. From the very beginning, you work with a personal designer to produce a set of plans that fit your budget, design style, functional needs and time frame. In contrast, you work with one company who handles every detail for you.
#3 Conduct a Phone Interview
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to call on the companies directly to fine tune your decision even further. Ask pertinent questions like, “How many projects do you currently have on-going?”, “Do you take on remodeling projects of similar size?” and “Can you provide a list of references?”. This will help you decide with whom to set up an in-person meeting.
For a complete list of questions to ask of a remodeling contractor, read 8 Essential Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor.
Checking client references is another crucial step in your selection process. Reputable remodeling firms should be happy to provide you with a list of current and past clients. Taking the time to call a sampling of customers and asking questions like “What was your overall experience working with the remodeling firm?”, “What did they do well?”, “What did they do poorly?”, “Did they keep the job site neat and clean?”, “Did you have cost overages? If so, why?”, and “Was the project completed on time?” will give you tremendous insight on who you want to hire and work on your home. And, if you can visit a current or past job site, even better!
#4 Request an In-Person Consultation
An in-person consultation is a perfect opportunity to meet with the remodeling contractor to get a feel for the company, their process, and the people you will be working with. This face-to-face meeting is also where you’ll discuss the entire scope of work with the contractor. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!
Once you’ve discussed your renovation goals, an established professional remodeling company will offer to provide a detailed scope of work and price estimate for you to review. If you work with a design build company, you will have the added benefit of exploring concept designs for your project as well (this may include a fee, as it requires a lot of work to put together).
#5 What Does Your Gut Tell You?
Finally, do you feel comfortable and see yourself communicating well with the remodeling firm that you’re considering? Remember, these folks will be in and out of your home for weeks or months. You’ll be interacting with various carpenters, designers and office staff throughout the project and you want to feel that your home and family are in good hands.
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be! Taking the time to do your homework and due diligence, before you approve your construction agreement, will help guarantee you end up with the ideal living space you dreamed of, with the least amount of headache as possible.
Ready to take the first step towards remodeling your home?
Give us a call today at 765-838-1644 or fill out our Request a Consultation form to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation. We are ready to help you get started and answer any questions you may have about your unique home remodeling project.