So, you have decided to finally do that remodel. There will be fun times ahead—as exciting as it is to spruce up the home, remodeling can be really stressful, even when everything goes right. One of the most crucial decisions you will make is your choice of contractor. This is not something to be done in haste–here are just a few important points to keep in mind.
Where to Start Your Search
The first step is gathering a list of potential contractors that seem to fit the bill. A great place to start is the site of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to look up members in your area—membership in professional organizations is always an important consideration when hiring anyone. Get in touch with building inspectors in the area—they are in the know as far as which contractors do their job well and regularly meet code requirements.
Naturally, the internet can be a great source in many ways—contractor websites can give you some helpful information that can guide your decision. For example, Superior Stone and Cabinet in Phoenix Arizona actually posts pictures of several completed kitchen remodel projects. Consumer review sites such as Angie’s List allows you to read in great detail about the experiences of people in your area with different contractors.
Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if a contractor has any complaints filed against him by clients or subcontractors. The presence of complaints in and of itself is not necessarily a problem—even the best professionals run into disputes—you want to pay attention to how the issue was resolved. Naturally, though, a contractor with a lot of complaints is a red flag.
After this bit of research, you should be able to compile a solid list of candidates.
Check with Suppliers, not Just Previous Clients
Of course you are going to check with previous clients before hiring a contractor, so that really does not even need to be discussed, right? Please do not skip this all-important step like many do because they get a good feeling about the person, and figure it is not necessary.
But, besides checking in with past jobs, it is also a good idea to get in touch with suppliers. They can provide a wealth of information to help you accurately gauge possible hires, such as whether they use quality materials or if they pay their bills on time. When making that initial phone call to a contractor, ask for a list of suppliers, and consider it a red flag if he doesn’t want to give up this info.
Be Willing to Wait for the Right Contractor
Once you have officially decided to remodel, you are probably raring to go. You want that new space as soon as possible; you know remodeling will come with many hassles, and you want to get it over with sooner than later. Impatience with the remodeling process can cause all sorts of headaches, from not really thinking enough about what you want, and being unhappy with the results, to primarily basing your choice of contractor on who is available the soonest.
Don’t go with your third choice because your first is not available to start the job for three months when you were hoping to start within a few weeks. A good contractor lies at the heart of a successful remodel, and is worth the wait.