Selecting the right contractor for your remodeling or renovation project can feel like stumbling around in the dark for the light switch: even if you know what you want, you still aren’t sure how to get there. But by planning for your desired outcome and doing your homework, you can simplify the process and narrow your choices to the best options. Here are six steps to help show you how to choose a home remodeling company.
Create a List of Wants
The first thing you should do when preparing for any renovation or remodel is to firmly establish what it is that you want to do with the space. Start by creating separate lists for any design and style requirements that you have so that your contractors can help you achieve your vision. Also, decide if you are willing to keep or sacrifice other fixtures, such as shelving, cabinetry, or lighting. Knowing what you want and are willing to do without will help the competing contractors refine their bids to meet your needs. If you know exactly what you want and are comfortable with doing it, drawing up plans can further clarify your goals for the contractor.
Identify Potential Options
After you make up all your lists and plans, the next step is to identify potential contractors in your area. There are many ways to search, each with its own unique pros and cons. Asking your friends, coworkers, and neighbors can yield suggestions based on personal experience, but that will also limit your search scope severely. This might also pressure you into choosing an inferior product or service if there is an incentive to promote one company. Possible incentives could include familial ties to the business, a personal financial stake in the company, or even just the offer for money back for each customer referred.
Searching out online reviews is also a popular option. The biggest upside to crowdsourcing recommendations for contractors is the vastly expanded pool of candidates. This method could potentially allow you to search for companies that specialize in the specific room you want to remodel or renovate. The biggest drawback to this is that you have no real way to verify the accuracy or authenticity of reviews, both positive and negative. A particularly vengeful former employee or a former love interest with an ax to grind could potentially take a company out of the running through no fault of its own.
Research the Candidates
After identifying potential options, conduct some basic research on your pool of candidates. Use this process to eliminate companies that you don’t feel are right for your job. Potential topics for your research should include specializations, areas they serve, and a ballpark range of the cost of their services. The goal at this time is to weed out as many unsuitable candidates as possible so that you don’t waste your time or resources on a contractor who is unable to provide the service that you need. Review sites can be your friend here, but you do have to be mindful of potentially false reviews. Be aware of any glowing reviews that leave out basic information. The same goes for any negative reviews that resort to name-calling and insults. Finally, the local chamber of commerce and consumer affairs groups could also prove useful in your search.
With your initial research complete, the next move is to contact and speak with potential companies and contractors. Keep your list of candidates long enough so that you maintain options but not so large that all options sound the same. One of the biggest perks of speaking with contractors is to get a feel for what they value in their work—if they prioritize time over quality or if craftsmanship supersedes speed. You should also ask if they do all their own work in-house or if they subcontract out. Ask to speak to the employees who will be working on your home to gauge the quality of people the business hires. Finally, ask for potential references and a portfolio of recent work the crew has performed.
Check References and Examine Portfolios
In this part of the process, you will narrow your choices down even further to your final list of candidates. Pay particular attention to the quality of the reference the company provides. You will want to speak to current and former customers, as well as any subcontractors they might bring in for your project. Examine the quality of the work they performed in their portfolio pieces. Ideally, you want around 10 projects, each with before, during, and after photos to show the company’s work. This would also be a good time to contact the Better Business Bureau to research potential past complaints previous customers made against your candidates.
Request Bids and Make Your Choice
The last step for choosing a home remodeling company is to solicit bids and decide on what contractor or company you are going to hire. Hopefully, by this point, you’ve narrowed it down to your final few choices and are ready to make an informed decision. Request bids in writing from each company still on your list. Each bid should include a timeline for job completion, approximate cost of the necessary materials, and estimated labor and overhead. Then, compare the bids to see what fits in your price range and which contractor can fill your needs. After reviewing and accepting a bid, the remodeling company will draft a contract proposal with most of the final details. Then, it’s finally time to get to work.
As you can tell, there is much that goes into the decision to hire a contractor. Whenever you are ready for your own home interior restoration or renovation, the experts at Aloha Restoration will be here to make sure that the job gets done right.