Finding the right remodeler isn’t as simple as searching online. If you’re considering a major remodeling project, you may be working closely with your remodeler for several months. For that reason, you’ll want to do everything possible to ensure you make the right decision.
Good Places to Begin Your Search
- Ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had remodeling work done.
- Contact the SCHBA at 920-892-6280 for a list of remodelers or explore our Member Directory. Using a SCHBA member remodeler helps ensure you are dealing with a reputable, quality contractor.
- Talk to other industry professionals like independent trade contractors, building material suppliers, architects, engineers, home inspectors, and local lenders.
After you have identified a few strong candidates, be sure to do further background checking to make sure they are reputable contractors who provide quality workmanship. Call your local or state consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau to find out if there are unresolved complaints against any of the remodelers. You may also want to contact your state’s contractor licensing agency and state and local building inspectors to verify that each remodeler has his and her appropriate licenses and a clean record.
Conduct Personal Interviews
- Would you hire this company again?
- Did the remodeler maintain a neat work site?
- Did the crew show up on time? Were you pleased with their work style?
- Was you project completed on time and within the budget?
- Was the remodeler easy to talk to? Did he or she keep the customer informed on the job progress?
We’ve all heard at least one horror story about an innocent homeowner paying large amounts of money to an unscrupulous contractor who then skips town, begins the job, but never completes it or does shoddy work. Here are a few warning signs to look for:
- The contractor solicits business door- to door. This sales approach is often accompanied by high pressure sales tactics, intimidation and threats.
- You can’t verify the remodeler’s name, address, telephone number or credentials
- The contractor is not willing to offer references or the references provided were not happy with the contractor’s work.
- You are asked to pay for the entire job in advance
- The contract only accepts payment in cash.
Asking the Right Questions
When you hire a remodeler, you are buying a service rather than a product. The quality of service the remodeler provides will determine the quality of the finished project and your satisfaction with it. Consider whether potential remodelers meet the following qualifications.
- Is the remodeler easily reachable at all times?
- Does the remodeler carry workers’ compensation insurance? (You should obtain copies of insurance certificates so that you are not liable for property damage or job site-related injuries)
- Does the remodeler have an established presence in the community?
- How long has the company been in business? (longevity suggests financial stability)
- Does the remodeler have a trustworthy reputation among customers, peers and other remodeling professionals? (Obtain and check customer and supplier references).
- Is the remodeler a member of the Sheboygan County Home Builders Association (Membership reflects a remodeler’s commitment to industry professionals).
Making a Decision
Once you’ve completed your research, you’re ready to make an informed decision. Before you have the final contract drawn up though, be sure to request price estimates.
Conventional wisdom states that you should get at least three bids before hiring a contractor. Ask for a written estimate of the work to be done based on a set of plans and specifications. Because this is a time consuming process, you may have to pay to have the estimate prepared.
However, don’t let price alone drive your choice of remodelers. If you like a certain candidate and are confident in this work, don’t dismiss him due to a high estimate. Perhaps you can scale down your project with a few minor modifications, like selecting less expensive fixtures or cabinet stock.
The bottom line is that you must feel comfortable with the remodeling contractor you choose. A strong rapport and close communication with your contractor will help make any job go well. Finally, be sure to read your contract carefully and review it with your remodeler to clarify any wording you don’t understand.
Ready to Start Your Search?
See the Sheboygan County Home Builders Member Directory to find architects, designers, and home builders today!