Choosing a Contractor for Your Home Remodeling Project

Posted on: May 19,2014

When you’re planning to remodel – whether it’s your bathroom, kitchen, or any other part of your house – it’s important to choose a qualified contractor.  If it’s your first time remodeling, you may not know what factors to consider when selecting a contractor, so we’ve put together some tips for making sure your remodel is a success!

Do Your Research

Start by asking friends and family of contractors they have used with successful results—or check with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for a list of members in your area. Another way to find someone qualified is by talking to a local building inspector—they will know which contractors routinely meet code requirements.

Check Online Reviews

Friends and family are great resources but you should also read some reviews.  Check places like Yelp, Guild Quality, the Better Business Bureau, and Angie’s List where you can find real reviews from people in your area who have used the contractor’s services.

Create a Short List of Contractors

Create a list of potential contractors and make some initial phone calls to get a better idea of the following:

  • Experience. Make sure your potential contractor has plenty of experience and is capable of taking on a job of your size. Check out before and after photos from other projects a contractor has completed and make sure they offer what you’re looking for.  You can even ask for a list of previous clients to call or visit to see the work first-hand.
  • License and Insurance. You want to make sure that they are running a legitimate business and are qualified to do the job, especially if there is plumbing or electrical work involved.  Make sure your potential contractor is licensed and insured.
  • Financial References. Are they willing to provide financial references from banks or suppliers?  Make sure a contractor can provide reliable financing options for your project.
  • Focus on Your Home. How many projects will your contractor have going on at once, while working on your project? You want to make sure your remodel receives adequate attention and is completed in a timely fashion – especially if it’s a bathroom or another space you use every day.
  • Warranties.  Make sure that your contractor works with high quality products that offer lifetime warranties (if possible) to guarantee longevity and safety.

Ask the Right Questions

If you screen potential contractors carefully, the next part is the fun part!

Set up some appointments with your top two to four contractors to go over design options and receive estimates.  Make sure they are professional and thorough during this process.

Find out about the payment schedule for your project.  A reputable contractor will have financing options available and most require only 10 percent down at contract signing. If they ask for half of your total cost up front, this should be a red flag.  It could be a sign of financial problems or fear that you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen the work.

You should also reconsider the low-bid.  If one of your estimates is noticeably lower than all of the others, chances are the contractor is cutting corners or may be desperate for work.  In the end, it’s better to spend more and go with someone you’re most comfortable with.  You simply can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.

Your Home Remodeling Project

Keep these tips in mind and your remodeling experience is sure to go smoothly. Choosing a reliable contractor doesn’t have to be a headache.  Meeting with a handful of potential contractors is a great way for you to learn more about how the remodeling and construction process works and you may pick up some great ideas along the way.