Dreaming up a new kitchen or spa-worthy bathroom may be the most fun part of renovating, but choosing the right renovation contractor is the most important part. This person will rip out your walls and spend your money, so it’s really important that you like and trust them enough to embark on the remodeling journey together.
We’ve all heard nightmare stories of homeowners who wound up chained to the wrong contractor. Don’t be one of them! Asking these questions might help you make the right hire:
- Can you share references?
- The best way to know about someone services is by asking previous customers about their experience with the company.
- What is the cost breakdown and payment schedule?
- It’s important to be aware of exactly how much is due and when. Also, discuss payment terms before the construction begins and remember the BBB advises to never pay for the full price of contracting upfront.
- How long have you worked in the area?
- Contracting businesses in operation for many years have worked through a lot of the growing pains that many companies deal with early on.
- Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
- Cities, states and even counties have different requirements on whether contractors must get a license. As a homeowner, you’ll want to make sure that yours has gone through all of the necessary channels to obtain any required certifications specific to their field of expertise. Contractors should have both workers’ compensation and liability insurance specifically for the type of job they perform.
- Will you obtain a permit and set up inspections required for this job?
- Not every job requires a permit or inspections, but remodeling projects that in some way change the structure of the home do require one. Your contractor should know what kind of permits you need and be willing to get them. Here in Florida permit cost range from a few hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- What is your timeframe?
- It’s important for homeowners to have a clear picture of when contractors will start and complete a project, and be aware of any circumstances that might affect that schedule.
- Who will be my point of contact?
- Identify a designated point of contact, as well as the best way to reach that person. Find out what times he’ll be available to respond to you, as well as the method of contact. Finally, ask for a general timeframe that you should expect to hear back.
- How do we resolve any disagreements, is there a warranty?
- Unfortunately, mistakes and disagreements due to misunderstanding do sometimes occur, despite the best intentions of contractors and homeowners. Asking a contractor how he handles disputes tells you that he has a process for taking care of situations in which clients aren’t fully satisfied. Also, most contractors offer a warranty or guarantee on their work, and it’s important to know ahead of time what it covers and how long it will remain in effect. Additionally, the materials used on your home may have a manufacturer’s warranty.
This may seem like a hefty list, but it’s very important to have good communication between contractors and homeowners. A contractor might also have questions for you, it is the best way for them to understand the job at hand and your requirements. An open dialogue helps ensure that both parties are staying on top of the project, and are setting clear and reasonable expectations of how the project will go.