How to Choose a Renovation Contractor
Updating your home is one of the easiest ways to boost its value and increase your enjoyment of the property. Those renovations can’t be done by just anyone, though. You want to hire a contractor with experience and skill.
1 Interview Multiple Contractors
Before choosing the person responsible for your home renovations:
- Interview multiple contractors.
- Ask about their training, their past projects. Get references.
- Get a bid from each of them and compare pricing for the job.
The cheapest contractor isn’t always the best, but neither is the most expensive. Find a contractor that suits your budget and has the skills you require.
Look for a professional, courteous contractor who communicates clearly and leaves you feeling comfortable. If multiple candidates have similar credentials and references, your instinct is a tie-breaker.
2 Check Their Credentials
With the ease of do-it-yourself websites and tools, anyone can remodel a home. Not everyone provides the same quality work, however. Check each potential contractor’s credentials and experience.
Some will have top-notch on-the-job training and apprenticeships, while others have technical schooling and certifications. Holding a license from organizations like the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the National Association of Homebuilders, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
If in doubt, do your research to see what certifications and licensure your state requires.
3 Get References
Ask around about your top contractor choices. If there are many different contractors in your area, references narrow down the options. Get feedback from friends and family who have used them for their projects.
Ask each contractor for their portfolio, too. Seeing the work, they’ve completed for other clients shows you what to expect in your home.
4 Bids, Pricing, and Paperwork
Compare the bids from each contractor, but get them in writing. Verbal bids are unenforceable, and you could find yourself paying significantly more than you expected. Discuss any supplies you already have and if they can use your materials.
Get clarity on the payment schedule. Ask if the contractor requires a deposit or partial payment upfront or expect the entire payment when work ends.
Inspect their contracts for professionalism. If they have a letterhead or official invoice instead of jotting down numbers on a legal pad, they’re probably a more professional service. Do they have a website or other professional storefronts? These indicate professionalism, too.
5 Fine Tune the Details
Renovating your home disrupts your routines. Talk with the contractors about their work schedules, how much access you’ll have to the part of the house they’re renovating, and whether you can access the space while they work. Please find out how they plan to protect your lawn as they work. They should use construction mats as part of a plan for protecting your garden beds and grassy areas.
Knowing how long your only bathroom will be out of commission while they complete the work is essential. If they need to disconnect the water or electricity, how does that affect the rest of your household?
3 Sign a Contract and Schedule the Work
Once you’ve chosen your ideal contractor, get on the schedule. Have them commit to a narrow time frame for starting and completing the job. Get all relevant details in writing. Ask for an itemized estimate and billing before you sign the contract for the job.
When the bill comes in, compare it to the estimate. Some minor changes are normal if supply changes, but your contractor should discuss any significant changes in the budget before deciding. Your project deserves the best communication, contractor, and products for a beautiful home renovation.