In a world where every person with a truck full of construction materials and tools is considered a “home remodeling contractor,” how do you differentiate the good from the bad? Well, it can be difficult to find reliable contractors these days, but they’re definitely out there. Since your contractor is significant in the success of your remodel, hiring a good one can make all the difference for you. You’ll find all levels of experience and expertise once you start your search for a contractor that suits your needs. To help you out, keep the following tips in mind:
They have the necessary licenses and insurance policies in place
A license is a guarantee that a remodeling contractor has met requirements set by the state to operate as a legitimate business. Not all states require licenses though for contractors to operate so check what equivalents may be in place to show contractor legitimacy. Licensed, a contractor is also able to show that they are genuinely fit to perform any improvement work on your home. Additionally, make sure that your remodeler has worker’s compensation and liability insurance to protect you should anything untoward happen during the course of a project and result in injury or damage to property.
GOOD CONTRACTORS: To ensure your remodeling project’s success, you need to consult and work with reputable contractors.
They deal directly with their customers
Many remodeling companies today make use of salespeople when it comes to dealing with customers for the first time. This third-party personnel is usually paid on a commission basis, which means if they are unable to sell to you, they won’t receive any payment from the company that hired them. On the contrary, the more money they get you to spend on the company’s services, the more they get paid. It’s generally not a good practice for remodeling companies to hire third-party salespeople to handle customers because that creates the wrong incentive. In addition, customers won’t be able to see the sales representative again once they sign the papers, so they’ll have no chance to clarify concerns with that person in case an issue comes up.
For a smooth and hassle-free upgrade experience, be sure that the contractor you hire deals with customers themselves—from start to finish. That way, you can have peace of mind knowing that they understand what you want exactly and can make sure you’ll feel completely comfortable with the job you wish to have done. Keep in mind that good communication is crucial. You need to be able to contact them directly whenever a problem arises, so you can find the best solution at once.
GOOD SERVICE: Reputable contractors want your business and should be able to show you exactly why they’re your best choice.
They provide proper documentation
After the initial consultation, you will be presented with a contract, a legal agreement that should include everything deemed necessary for project completion. Since this document is an integral part of your remodel, you need to be able to fully understand what it says. Aside from making sure that everything that was agreed upon is in there, don’t hesitate to let your contractor know if you have any questions or concerns. Take note of how your contract looks as well. As a legal document, your contract has to look like it was provided by a professional.
To avoid any problems moving forward, it’s vital that you check and evaluate every item included in the contract. Be sure to look for these elements:
- Disclosures – To determine if a contract is legal, look for certain disclosures, such as those that tackle recovery funds and insurance claims. These will serve as a written proof about your rights as a customer who purchased the products and services of the contractor. Also, look for the contractor’s license number on the front of the contract to ensure they are truly recognized and licensed by the state.
- Scope of Work – This specifies what the contractor needs to do and what materials, tools, and services should be used to finish your project. Take the time to evaluate each item with the company to be sure you’re on the same page throughout the process. Lastly, check if the company offers comprehensive warranties on both the products and services used for your complete security.
- Estimated Project Duration – You should have an agreement with your contractor on the estimated date your project will commence and end. The duration should be included in the contract, so you can keep track of the progress of your project from time to time.
- Exclusions – By including this in the contract, you can plan your contingency budget more effectively. Exclusions might involve areas that are not visible until the walls are opened up, as well as the mess you should expect after the actual construction.
- Payment Terms – Both parties should agree on how and when the payments will be made. Not only should the contract indicate the total project cost; it should also have a break down on the payment schedule and amount that needs to be deposited.
REMODELING CONTRACT: Your contract will contain all details pertinent to your remodeling project. Make sure you understand everything before signing!
They have stable finances
Of course, your contractor needs to get paid, but reputable ones typically only ask for a percentage of the total payment up front. At most, only a third or half the price should be paid during the initial stages of construction. If you’re being asked to pay for a larger deposit, consider that a huge red flag. A reputable contractor should be financially stable enough to cover material purchases and be comfortable only asking for payments after milestones in the remodeling project are met. If a contractor also offers financing options, that’s a plus.
They keep their word
A reputable contractor will stand by the signed contract and use only materials that have been agreed upon. If in case some materials are unavailable, they will contact you to find a possible replacement. Sticking to an agreement is commendable and a surefire way to avoid problems but what’s even better about reputable contractors is that it’s second nature to them to go above and beyond what’s necessary to ensure customer satisfaction.
Finding a good and reputable contractor for your project takes time. A lot of homeowners tend to rush this step, but remember, a bad contractor doesn’t have to live with a bad home improvement job—you do. Fortunately, these five ways will help you tell the good from the bad, letting you avoid headaches down the line.
Marcela Montoya – I came to America as a young woman. Although I already had a degree in architecture and design, I wanted to start my life anew in America. I didn’t speak English, so I made sure my first goal was to learn the language and find a job.
Things started out a bit rough, as I was robbed the first week I arrived, and all my money, luggage and even my credit cards and passport were stolen. But tens of thousands of people came to this country over the past two hundred and fifty years with much less than what I had, so I just picked myself up and kept going.
I found work at a reputable contracting company in south Florida, eventually making my way up the corporate ladder. But I realized very quickly that while contractors were making good money, the services they were providing were less than excellent, and I saw shortcuts being taken time and again – over pricing of jobs, sloppy workmanship, and so on. These were not the values I was raised with, and I knew I could do better. I figured that maybe it was time for a woman to get into the contracting field and try to offer a different kind of remodeling service – one based not on greed and taking advantage of the customer, but one based on honesty and relationships first.
Back then I didn’t realize that there weren’t any state-licensed female contractors in Florida. I was informed time and time again that “women don’t belong in the construction industry”. Fast forward twenty years, and my name and reputation, and that of my company, have set a new standard for custom remodeling projects – from the very large to the very small. If that is what you are looking for, give us a call. We won’t disappoint you.