10 Questions to Ask Home Remodeling Contractors Before You Hire Them
The thought of allowing someone to come into your home, move your belongings from room to room, and then create something completely different than what was there before can be overwhelming to say the very least.
That is why today’s homeowners should proceed with caution before diving into a home remodeling project. And a good home remodeling contractor will understand what is required to carefully plan and execute your vision for your home – with limited amounts stress.
If you are thinking about remodeling your home, we recommend you use the following 10 questions when researching prospective companies or home remodeling contractors:
- How long has the company been in business? It’s vital to identify a professional remodeler’s level of experience. For example, how many kitchens, bathrooms, home additions have they completed over the last handful of years? While a company may have a good track-record with kitchens, a master bath may not be their expertise. Also, the length of time a remodeling company has been in business can potentially give you a sense of the level of experience and professionalism you might expect.
- Is the remodeling contractor licensed and insured? In some cases, homeowners assume a remodeling company is covered simply because there is a logo splashed across their truck. However, it’s important to do a little research to verify that this indeed is the case. After all, licensing ensures that companies are qualified to perform certain types of work and gives homeowners a way to review issues in the company’s history. And insurance offers protection for the homeowner and for the company completing the work, including covering damages or injuries incurred during the course of the project.
- How much of the contractor’s client base is repeat/referral business? A remodeling company that keeps its clients happy and boasts quality work can actually grow their business on repeat or referral clients. This can be a great indicator that their previous clients have come back for new projects, or they refer friends and neighbors.
- Can they offer recent referrals? A good home remodeling company should be able to give you a list of references of previous clients who have completed projects.
- Who is responsible for designing the space? It is always important to know who will actually be designing the space. For instance, will it be done in-house or by a company unrelated to the remodeling company? Also, ask if you will have the option to choose designs or if you will be able to receive professional consultation on material selections and color palettes. These are important steps in the home remodeling process to ensure that the final design reaches your overall project goals.
- How is the contract written? In the world of home remodeling, there are numerous ways to structure a written contract. For example, some companies have “time and material” contracts, others offer “fixed price” contracts and there’s also “cost-plus” contracts. Most homeowners like to know prior to the start of construction what the bottom line pricing will be. Also, the most important points that should be highlighted in a contract are the construction start and end dates, as well as the expected payment schedule.
- Are finishing materials and final scope of work described on the contract, or are allowances used up front? As you may be aware, an allowance is a specific amount of money noted on a contract when exact details or selections have not been finalized. It’s important to understand that open items (or allowances) on a contract can potentially lead to additional costs and possible delays in production. However, spending the time up front planning the details of the project, and making final selections, can dramatically reduce the likelihood of cost overruns or time delays.
- Who will be involved in the construction? The size of your project will determine who does the actual work. For some small-scale projects, for instance, a company may provide an in-house carpenter to take on a project. For larger scale renovations – think a larger master bath or kitchen remodel – some home remodelers will provide an in-house lead carpenter for the majority of the carpentry work, and then bring in outside companies for specialty areas, such as electrical, plumbing, masonry, drywall and so on. Regardless, it is important to understand who the work will be subcontracted out to.
- How is the project managed? Is there a project manager who is in charge of supervising? Is it an in-house person? How many projects does this person supervise on a daily basis? In some smaller-sized companies, the person who manages the project construction is also responsible for meeting with new clients, managing sub-contractors, estimating projects and much more. This can be daunting and leave very little time for ongoing on-site management. Your project manager should be able to plan a regularly scheduled meeting with you during construction to discuss progress, timeline, and any other issues or concerns.
- What does the warranty cover? Some companies will offer a minimum warranty for their work – equivalent to about one year. Other companies offer longer terms for their warranties and still, others sell extended warranties. Make sure you understand the terms of the warranty and how you, as the homeowner, would pursue having work performed under warranty, as well as what your responsibilities are in order to maintain the warranty.
The Bottom Line: Trust Your Instincts
If you’ve spoken with several home remodeling contractors and have multiple estimates, you’ve definitely got a big decision to make.
Sure, it might be tempting to go with the most affordable option, but remember to consider the many other factors that will play a part in the project.
With this in mind, choose a home remodeling contractor that truly understands your needs, can address your concerns, act as a trusted advisor to you if something goes wrong and will work with you collaboratively.
Transform your house into your dream home! Contact Republic West Remodeling today for the highest quality luxury whole home remodeling. We proudly serve Scottsdale, Phoenix and the Phoenix Metro area. Call (480) 428-8155 for your free consultation or contact us online today.