Confessions of A Contractor
Updated: Dec 7, 2018
Before you begin your home renovation, make sure you're asking the right questions! In this "ask a contractor" special edition, we will cover some of the most important topics throughout a remodeling project.
1. What is the most common mistake people make when they choose a contractor?
The #1 mistake people make during a home remodel is choosing a contractor based solely on price. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but very often with contractors the old adage is true: you get what you pay for. You may think you're going to pay less, but very often that project will cost you more in time, frustration, and money than the more expensive bid. If you need a good ballpark number, make sure you check out our RENOVATION COST CALCULATOR.
Also make sure you're checking the contractors references. You'll never know how good they are unless you see some previous work and speak with previous clients. Finally, NEVER pay in full until the job is absolutely complete.
2. Why do bids vary so much in price. Are they negotiable?
Generally speaking, the more costs the contractor has - employees, showroom, company cars, etc. - the more they will charge. The benefit of using bigger companies is that you know the work will be a sure thing and if it's not that it will be fixed promptly. Some smaller contractors will purposely make their bids smaller, but they may also not guarantee their work if something breaks within a year (or they may not even answer the phone!). It's a safer bet to go with a contractor that you know will be there if you need them. If you can't afford the one you want, consider scaling back the project a bit or using less expensive materials so the price can fit your budget.
3. What's the best way to check a contractor's reputability?
Word of mouth is the gold-standard. Most people think to look on Angie's List or BBB; however, I have found that these referrals may not be as reliable as you may think. Anyone with a registered company can be called by either of these companies and, for a fee, can buy their way in. One thing you'll want to make sure of is that your contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured and they don't have any unsettled disputes.
4. What's a sign at the start of a project that you've hired a good contractor?
COMMUNICATION IS KEY! Is your contractor reachable when you need him or her? Does he text, call, or email you back promptly? CLEANLINESS is also a very good sign. Does he clean each day prior to leaving your house? Does he put up protective barriers and us HEPA filters? TRUST is the final ingredient. Do you feel comfortable with this person in your home? Do you feel like he or she understands what you want and how you want it done? If you answer yes to these questions, you've made a smart hire!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article on our next blog!