House Remodeling: How to Find a Contractor


Are you getting ready to remodel that toilet that is just too plain? Wanting to modernize that old kitchen? Build on a sunroom to relax in during the summer or add an extra bedroom for the new addition to the family that you are expecting? Then you will need to find a contractor that knows what they are doing.
If this is your first foray into the world of remodeling and you don’t know exactly where to begin looking for the perfect contractor for your building wants, don’t panic. Here are a few tips in helping you to find the professional contractor that is suited for the type of job you need done.

The first thing you will need to do is weed out the contractors that will either a) tell you that they can get the job done within two weeks only to drag the work along for four just to make that extra money, b) tell you that they know everything there is about remodeling or building whatever specific room you want to change or add, only to find out they’re not qualified and c) play up their abilities to make you think they are the best contractor in the world and take pride in their work only to find out that they are only in the business to make money. These types of contractors could care less if they slip up here and there along the way, not living up to your expectations as long as they get your money. Believe me when I say that that the true professional contractors do indeed take pride in their work not only because they love their work but also because they know that word of mouth from happy customers means free advertising for other jobs.

When you begin your search for the right contractor it is best to start as early as possible. This will give you plenty of time to do some research without feeling the need to hire the first contractor that seems to be great. Never try picking out a contractor randomly in the yellow pages of your local telephone book. This seldom ever helps connect a customer to the perfect contractor. Instead, hop online and check out the list of contractors in your area. Most of the ones who take pride in their work will have a website, displaying some of their work so that you can see just how good it is. But no matter how wonderful the work seems, check and see if they have listed some of their previous jobs with contact information so that you can talk to the customers they have worked with.

You may still be skeptical after all of this since anyone can take pictures from the internet, put them on their site and claim to have done the work themselves. The customers they have listed on the site, the ones giving glowing endorsements of the contractors work may indeed be family and friends or someone they have paid to do a review. After all, how many times have you watched an endsorement for a company on television only to see “paid actor” in small print at the bottom of the screen. If this is the case, also check to see if they have posted their certification on the internet as well. Most legimitate contractors will want you to see that they have taken the required courses and passed. And last but not least, always check the Better Business Bureau. They will tell you if the contractor you are thinking about hiring has had complaints against them and what they were.

You could also see if any family members or friends have had any remodeling done to their homes. It is best to find someone who has had the type of work you want done to their house. Say, for instance, you want your kitchen remodeled. Try to find someone who has had their kitchen done. However, if no one has but they have had their bathroom remodeled and loved their contractor, then you might want to consider them. Be careful when doing this, however, since there are contractors who only specialize in one type of remodeling. The contractor might have done a great job on the bathroom, but could end up doing a terrible job in a kitchen.

If you want to take it a step further, contact some builders in your area. Tell them what kind of work you are wanting done to your house and then ask them who they use and why. Since they have a lot of expertise in this area, as it is their living, they could probably give you more insight into finding a good contractor than anyone else possibly could.

Try to get as many referenced names as possible. That gives you plenty to choose from. If you meet with one and they want more money than you are willing to pay out, then you can keep checking out contractors until you find the perfect one that meets not only your standards but your budget as well. And speaking of budget, you need to go online and research just how much the remodeling job you want usually costs. You might even go further and detail it process by process. Materials, labor and such. This will give you an idea of what the job should cost so if you get that “are you kidding me?” bid you can quickly show the contractor to the door.

Once you have narrowed down your search of contractors, you need to begin the interview process with each and every one. The first thing you will want to ask for is their credentials. Most well respected contractors will be more than glad to show you these, however, the ones that are not so respected may balk. If they do, then mark them off your list and go on to the next contractor.

When checking out their credentials there are some very important things you need to know. Are they bonded? Do they have insurance that will cover any workers they have getting hurt while working on your property? If they don’t have this type of insurance, it is a good idea not to hire them. If one of their workers gets hurt and needs to take time off from work, you will be the one ending up paying for it. Or, worse case scenario, if someone is hurt very badly, you might end up getting sued. So you need to protect yourself.

Even if they tell you that they do have insurance, it is a good idea to get the name of their insurance agency. Call the insurance agency, tell them you are getting ready to hire this contractor for work and you need to know if they do indeed have insurance. If this is the case, ask to see the policy. Some insurance companies will not hand out copies on insurance policies to customers so you may need the contractors okay before proceeding down this avenue.

Once this paperwork is taken care of, talk to the contractors that you have narrowed down throughout your search. Ask to see pictures of their most recent works and ask them for any references as well. As said before, reputable contractors will be more than happy to show off their work and are proud of the satisfied customers they have, while the others won’t be as willing to share.

Ask them how long they have been doing contracting work and if they have problems keeping the same employees or if their employees have been around for a while. You need to make sure that their employees are not just some fly by nights that work for a while and then quit. You will want the workers to be almost as qualified as the contractor since they will be doing most of the actual hands on work. Ergo, a contractor is only as good as his workers.

The last question you will need to ask is whether or not the contractor and his workers will be working on just your remodeling job or if they have other jobs as well. If a contractor has too many irons in the fire, his workers may be spread too thin and will not give your job as much time as they should or they might end up taking more time in finishing your project than originally estimated due to having to work on the other jobs as well. Most contractors will have one or two jobs going on at the same time, however, if one has five or six jobs going at the same time, you might want to steer clear of them.

Once you have sifted through the potential candidates and have decided on a certain contractor, you need to get back in touch with him so that you two can iron out the final details. These details include a firm cost, not an estimate, a certain date on when the project will be finished, and how payment should be made.

Usually, a contractor will have a standard contract which will allow him to fill in the date of completion and the cost of the project. When you are talking to a contractor about when the job will be finished most contractors like to allow anywhere from 3 to 5 days as a completion date. This is due to never knowing about unforeseen problems such as late delivery of materials, mistakes that will need to be corrected (after all, contractors are only human, too) and weather (if they are doing a job that requires being outside}. Once you agree on a firm budget and fair estimated date, these can be written into the contract.

If you are not writing up your own contract, be careful to read each and every inch of the contract submitted for your signature. Do not sign a contract while the contractor skims over the details, as that can prove to be costly in the end. If you do not feel comfortable enough about reading and understanding contracts, take this to your lawyer and have him look it over. If there are any hidden details in the contract, then he or she will be able to point these out and make amendments to them.

One of the biggest things about a contract is how much the job will cost and how you are going to pay for it. Even if you have agreed with the contractor on the entire budget and have saved up enough money that you have it in the bank, never, ever pay the entire amount before the job is completed. Some contractors take the money and then put you on the backburner until the last moment, in leiu of doing other jobs. You might think that because you trusted them enough to pay upfront that they will honor that and work as quickly as possible to get your job done first but you would be wrong. People tend to forget about jobs that have already been paid for, concentrating more on the ones that they won’t get paid for until the work is done.

Of course, the contractor has to be as wary of you as you are of him. That’s only fair. He will want at least a little bit put up at the first of the job. This is where negotiating comes in handy. Offer to pay him a percentage upfront, a percentage when he is halfway through and the rest of the amount when he is done. This is usually the best way to go. By having the customer pay upfront and mid-way through the project, a contractor feels confident that he will get paid for the job. And the customer, after putting up the good faith money, will be ensured that the contractor will indeed complete the job in the amount of time specified in order to get that last payment. Everyone’s happy.

By following these guidelines, you should be able to not only find the perfect contractor for your remodeling project but to be happy with the completed project. Then you can sit back and enjoy the beauty of your newly remodeled kitchen or toilet or any new addition to your home. Want to know the best tankless toilet? Then head on to Toilet Care!

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