WHAT MAKES A GOOD HOME REMODELER?
Getting a home remolded is a heavy lift (pun intended) and doing it yourself can be more than most are willing to take on. This is especially true when you are living in the home you wish to upgrade and will continue to live within it during construction. Now, whether you are going for a kitchen remodel or a three-story addition, many of the circumstances for any home renovation project are consistently redundant.
Redundant to an experienced professional and that is what we address in this week’s blog topic, the items to look at when choosing a home remolding professional. A task that can go smoothly if you ask the right questions and understand what type of answers carry the most weight in your decision making.
Fortunately, qualified home remodelers do exist, despite the reputation this industry sometimes carries. When you work with a qualified professional you can accomplish a home remodel project successfully.
Let’s take a look at how we go about finding that right contractor for our project and our needs. When choosing a home remodeler, looking for the following qualifications can make a considerable difference between complete satisfaction or regret. Consider addressing the following items when choosing your next contractor: experience level, industry certifications, insurances, craftmanship, prior customer feedback, availability, and cleanliness to name a few.
EXPERIENCE IN THE BUSINESS
The amount of experience a contractor possesses is extremely important to the successful preparation of a project and seeing that project to its anticipated completion. The knowledge gathered from their past work experience can save you from costly pitfalls by leveraging what they have seen before. This is what you want in a contractor; the ability to solve problems in real-time or the knowledge base to prepare and/or react correctly to them.
Home remolding projects have a good number of unknowns as you are never quite sure who came before you and what skill level they possessed. When interviewing your potential contractors, be sure to ask about their experience. Be advised that the amount of years one has been in the trades does carry some weight in this equation, but not as much as one may think. Years do not necessarily equate to holistic expertise for any given project. Ask for a specific break down of that experience and listen if those areas align with your own project needs.
CERTIFICATION AND MEMBERSHIPS
Don’t hesitate to ask the contractor for their industry certifications and memberships. The certification of the contractor is potential proof of their commitment to the profession and possessing any is a good sign. Likewise, being a member of local trade or community organizations is a reflection of their viability in the community. Both of these elements you should take into consideration when making your contractor decision. You want to work with someone you connect with on a personal and professional level but only when that connection is compounded by sufficient industry relevance and visibility.
If they do have sufficient experience in the field your project requires, this can certainly be enough but asking these questions can help you weigh your final decision of one company over another.
LICENSES & INSURANCES
You must work with a contractor who carries the proper licenses and insurances to do business in your state as well as your local area. Each location has different requirements to perform business in that region but in general, you will want to be sure the contractor(s) you are considering is licensed, insured and perhaps even bonded.
The details of such things can get complicated quickly. So instead of asking details that you may not know the answer too anyway; just ask them to prove that they are currently licensed and insured. This should be an easy thing for them to accomplish. The license is generally a state and/or local government-issued and the insurance certificate is easily obtained from their insurer.
Craftsmanship is something that is acquired from time on task and cannot be substituted with quality materials. When discussing material choices with your potential contractor(s), ask why that particular material is better than another. Also, follow up with how many projects they have used those materials on in the past and what their rate of callbacks are. Don’t be surprised if there is a slight hesitation on the answer, its likely a question they don’t get very often.
You can also look into their previous completed projects and, if possible, consider speaking with their past clients. Some past clients are more than willing to show off the work they had done to their homes and if they are in your local community, you can simply do a drive-by and check things out that way. Many experienced home remodelers have an extensive portfolio to showcase the success of their previous work, it may be a red flag if they don’t openly discuss what they have accomplished in the past.
Speaking of red flags, warranty periods are often held up as what makes one material better than another. The number is intended to carry a level of comfort that the product will last for years and years. Keep in mind, this warranty is contingent on the proper install of said product and it is not uncommon for the manufacturer to blame the installer and the installer to blame the manufacturer when products don’t last as originally expected. Ask the contractor how they have handled such situations in the past, you will want to work with someone who will make it right regardless of blame.
Customer satisfaction should be the top priority of any home remodeler. Before hiring a contractor, you probably start with those closest to you: friends, family, and neighbors who have had a remodel in the past. Word of mouth is a great way to be introduced to a qualified professional, but that is not always available or reliable and you should take note of publicly posted customer testimonials. It is true that disgruntled customers generally bark the loudest on social media. So, read both the good, the bad and the in-between to gain a well-rounded view of what these testimonials are conveying.
Also, see if the contractor has responded to any of the testimonials. The care a company takes to thank someone publicly or address their concerns can give you a window into their customer responsiveness.
A delay in communication can make a huge difference between an excellent and unsatisfactory remodeling experience. You will want to know if you will have a dedicated company representative at your fingertips. Preferably someone who is intimately involved with your project. Considering the response time of the remodeler is a vital step while making the hiring decision. They should get back to you in the shortest possible time and you will get a taste of this while you are setting up your initial face-to-face meeting. Moreover, multiple communication channels are a plus, as you likely have a preferred way of communicating in general: text, tweet, phone call, email, Facebook, etc. Be sure to ask how the company generally does its business communicating and see if that fits your needs or desires.
When time is of importance during your project, you will want to have a high level of confidence that you can reach someone you have faith will handle your concerns immediately. Do not underestimate how to import this piece of the puzzle is to a successfully completed project.
Potentially, the most common complaint of someone who has lived through an owner-occupied remodel is the fact that the mess can become overwhelming quickly. Dust is usually the biggest component of such complaints and it can be a challenge to control. Ask your potential contractor(s), how they control the mess on their job sites? You will want to listen for specific techniques; filter changes, booties, using plastic to contain work areas, etc.
The proper combination of techniques varies by the type of project you are looking to get completed. If your potential contractor does list certain techniques they like to exercise, ask them how they go about performing these techniques and keeping them consistent throughout the project.
Finding the right contractor for your remodeling project may take time. But having a skilled and professional remodeler on your team is crucial to accomplish the project. Considering the above pointers can surely help your own odds of success by going over them with your candidates.
Lastly, research your contractor thoroughly and take your time to make the best decision for your situation. If you are looking for a remodeler in Montgomery County or Bucks County Pennsylvania, you can seek help for such projects from Additions by B&H located in Chalfont. They are BBB accredited since 2014, and the company enjoys an A+ rating.
Additionally, B&H has passed the screening process and is approved by HomeAdvisor for their high-quality of service over the past five-plus years. Additions by B&H has been completing home improvement projects for the last 38 years and is well established in the local community. Their online reviews speak for themselves and we encourage you to review them.
Good luck with your next project!
Additions By B&H