The success or failure of a home renovation project often depends on the skills and professionalism of the person doing the actual job. If you intend to hire a contractor to carry the work when renovating your kitchen or bathroom it pays to spend time choosing one that you can trust. If you are not familiar with hiring home renovation contractors, the following guide will help you remove uncertainty from your mind and take an informed decision on the best professional to carry out your home decoration project.
One of the best ways of finding a good contractor is by asking friends and family who have successfully finished a home renovation projects recently, as nobody who is unhappy with a particular contractor would recommend him to you. However, this is not always possible and you may need to conduct research online and offline, looking at local newspapers and even lists of contractors at your local chamber of commerce. This will allow you to make a shortlist of potential candidates that can conduct the type of work your home renovation project requires, and are available on the dates you intend to have the work done. Some contractors have discovered the benefits of using social media for marketing, but most stick to traditional advertising on print media and even radio.
Start with asking for referrals, and actually check them out. Look for contractors who have undertaken similar projects to the one you have in mind, as many home remodelling jobs require particular skills, and somebody who has painted a house may not have the skills to build a new kitchen. Then number one mistake homeowners make is requesting referrals, but never checking them and taking the word of the contractor at face value. Unless you check it out with the person who hired them you’ll never know whether that person actually redecorated an entire kitchen or was there for a day to install some cheap countertops and then left.
Ask for a mix of recent clients and those that had work done a few months earlier, as some errors won't show immediately but can cause big loses. When you are checking the references, inquire about the nature and volume of work the contractor performed, his communication skills and most importantly, whether that person would hire him again or not. Any contract that cannot give you referrals is best avoided, as it often means they are trying to hide unhappy past customers or lack the experience doing the kind of project you are planning for.
Another thing to watch out for is contractors that claim to have particular credentials and certifications when they don't. Some manufacturers will consider warranties void if the items are installed incorrectly by a contractor or homeowner who doesn't have the required training, so keep this in mind while choosing remodelling contractors. Check also that the contractor holds all required trade licenses required by their state and local council. While membership to particular trade or professional associations is often not required, it can give you additional peace of mind about the work standards of your potential home renovation contractor, and often they also offer a degree of protection and a claims process if things don't go as well as expected.
When it is time to ask for quotes, it is often better to provide a template of what you expect the contractor to bid on, the scope of the work, a site plan, a work schedule (with related payment milestones) and what sort of warranties they provide. By ensuring all this information and requirements are in the open when requesting bids you'll weed out any contractor that doesn't want to follow them, and can move on to selecting a contractor, directly or after an interview.
Before hiring somebody make sure you know exactly who will undertake the work, as it will do you no good to interview a suitable contractor just to see him subcontracting the work to others, and what the process will be in case there's a dispute. If you expect your contractor to subcontract the work, make sure there is a lien waiver to protect you from a claim by the subcontractors in case the contractor doesn't pay them. It is also worth asking how much changing plans mid-way would cost you, if for example you decide that resurfacing countertops is a better alternative than buying new ones. Remember to always ask about things such as insurance, as a contractor who isn't properly insured can be a big liability if, for example, something goes wrong and your house (or your neighbour's) suffers damages as a result.
If you are undertaking a big kitchen remodelling project it is worth taking the time to interview the most solid candidates in person, show them your plans and see whether you and the contractor have good chemistry and can communicate effectively. Make sure to write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget important things and take notes if the contractor is able to provide you with useful ideas of his own after seeing your plans and designs. A good contractor will be able to apply his expertise to help you take better decisions, from finding the right light fixtures to sourcing cheaper materials to lower your costs.
By taking your time and choosing your kitchen renovation contractor carefully you can avoid problems before the work starts and amending things is too costly. Do not sacrifice your peace of mind in order to get a lower price or start your home renovation project a bit earlier, and make sure any contractor you hire is legitimate and able to do the work you need to your desired standards. You can use this guide to chosing kitchen remodelling contractors for any sort of contractor, from finding a cheap plumber to choosing a painter, as the principles are the same. However, you'll need to do your research each time to see what qualifications and experience are valuable for your particular home renovation project requirements.