A renovation project is designed to make your property more comfortable. Perhaps you want to update the air conditioning system or fix the leaky roof. Maybe the bathroom is in dire need of an update, or the family would enjoy an open-air porch. A remodel could also include an improved garden, lawn or garage.
In 2018 alone, American homeowners spent $394 billion on home improvement undertakings. That number is expected to rise to $464.5 billion by 2022. If you’re one of many planning a home remodel project, follow the six tips below to find the right contractor.
1. Ask for References
The best recommendations come straight from the horse’s mouth. If you plan to upgrade your property, ask a friend or neighbor about their recent remodel and who they hired. Would they recommend the contractor or was the experience a nightmare? Visit a hardware store and ask workers about local contractors with good reputations. Online reviews can also offer a wealth of information about what to expect when working with a specific company. Beware of reviews that lack detail or use lots of first-person pronouns like “I” and “me,” as they’re more likely to be fake.
2. Visit Local Job Sites
Once you’ve read reviews, come up a list of your top contenders. Then, drive around to local job sites to check out the work in person. If a project is complete, how does it look? If work is still in progress, how do the workers treat the job site? Is construction debris kept to a minimum? If you don’t know anyone who has completed a remodel, drive around town and look for lawn signs. Most construction companies advertise recently completed projects. For exterior renovations — like a new roof or updated siding — you can examine the craftsmanship without stepping foot on the property.
3. Research Company History
It’s essential to look into any company’s background before signing an agreement. No matter the type of renovation planned — whether it’s new tile in the bathroom or a refinished driveway — it’s important to research the business, including years of operation and experience. Most of this information can be found in the “about” section of a company’s website. A new business is not necessarily unqualified. Company history is just one indicator of what to expect when hiring a specific contractor.
4. Check for Insurance
Always ask for proof of proper certifications and insurance. A roofing contractor, for example, will need to have a business license to operate in your area. They will also need to comply with workers’ compensation and liability insurance. Without insurance, you could be held financially liable for anything that goes wrong, whether it be property damage or an injured worker. If you plan to repair or replace your roof, look for a contractor with a Master Elite® certification. This type of accreditation is an assurance the business is both legitimate and professional.
5. Meet Face-to-Face
Narrow your list of contractors to the top three or four. Conduct phone interviews beforehand to ask questions and bring up potential concerns. Double-check the contract can operate in your area. Meet face-to-face when you’re ready to gather estimates and discuss the project further. It’s impossible to get to know a contractor over the phone. An in-person meeting provides the opportunity to look them in the eye and make a valuable character judgment.
6. Sign a Written Contract
Do not commit to a contractor without a written and signed agreement. A contract should outline the entire scope of a project, including the type of renovation, total cost, completion time frame and payment arrangement. Be wary of any contract that doesn’t provide a timeline to complete the job. Ensure there’s a clause detailing how to handle unexpected costs or timely setbacks. Plus, it’s important to keep track of job-related documents, including receipts for payments and contact information.
A renovation can be an excellent way to beautify your home and make essential updates. Perhaps you want to extend the master bedroom? Maybe you want to build an attached two-car garage? No matter your project, it’s crucial to find the right contractor for the job. From site visits to first-hand referrals, follow the six tips above to find the right contractor for your next remodel.
AUTHOR: KACEY BRADLEY
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!