6 Tips for Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

So, you want to start a home improvement project but are unsure how to find a qualified and trustworthy remodeling contractor. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you find the contractor that you feel comfortable working with.

So, you want to start a home improvement project but need help finding a qualified and trustworthy remodeling contractor. There are a lot of contractors out there, but you need to find one that will finish your project on time and within budget. 

Below are a few tips to help you find the remodeling contractor you feel comfortable working with.

1. Get Recommendations

Word of mouth is the best way to find a trustworthy contractor. If you know someone who has had a good experience with one, start there. 

Angie’s List is a good source for contractor research. 

  • Does the company have negative reviews – and if so, are they valid? (Sometimes, a homeowner will give a company a bad review without even hiring them.) 
  • How many “A” level reviews does the company have? 
  • Has the company received the Angie’s List Super Service Award

A third way is to Google local companies and check their online reviews. You can also contact national associations to see if your choices are accredited members.

2. Look at Credentials

Once you have your recommendations, start checking them out. Ensure they have all appropriate licenses, insurance certificates, and designations from professional associations like the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Visit their website or make a phone call.

3. Check References

Visit a current job site and see how the contractor works. 

  • Is the job site neat and safe? 
  • Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner's property? 

Contact former clients to find out how their project went and ask for the finished product. When hiring a remodeler, you’re paying for a service, not a product. Quality of service will determine the quality of the finished project. 

Check with your local Better Business Bureau. They are most likely complaint-free if you can’t find any information on them with the BBB.

4. Interview Candidates

Once you have narrowed your list of candidates, you can and should start the interview process. 

Start by calling them and asking questions like:

  • How many projects do they work on simultaneously? (leading to how much time they will spend on your project and how long it will take to complete) 
  • Do they have employees or sub-contractors? 
  • If subs, how long have they been working with them?
  • Do they pull permits and handle all the required inspections 
  • How many projects have they done that are like yours?
  • Do they produce a schedule for your jobs, and if so, will you have access to it?
  • How are change orders handled?
  • How are selections made? 

It is also a good time to set up a face-to-face at your home to review your plans, ask any follow-up questions, and if they ask you to come out to your home--even better. It means they are interested in you and your project and want more details.

5. Business Management

Things to consider:

  • Ask the remodeler how much the project will add to the home's value and attain additional insurance from your provider.
  • Check with the Minnesota Department of Labor to look up the company’s contractor’s license to ensure they are in good standing with the State.
  • What does the company’s website look like? 
  • If the website is not professional-looking and well-designed with a quality photo gallery – why? 
  • Their website is their chance to show you their best work, and if the website could be more impressive, what would their work look like?
  • How do they manage their projects? 
  • Do they use a cloud base construction management tool such as Builder Trend?
  • These tools are useful in scheduling your project, uploading blueprints, cabinet drawings, etc., and communicating with you. 

Does the remodeler:

  • Have an established presence in the community? 
  • How long has the company been in business? 
  • Does the remodeler maintain solid relationships with sub-contractors if necessary?
  • Possess a trustworthy reputation among customers and peers? 
  • Is there a track record of success?
  • Maintain a permanent mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, and voicemail?
  • Carry the proper insurance? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates to be sure. 
  • Ask the company about their insurance limits – do they only carry the state minimum? 

Once you hire a contractor, ask them to have their insurance company issue a certificate of liability insurance with your name and address listed as the certificate holder. This certificate will also show you the effective policy dates, the amount of limits (anything below $ 1,0000,000 is too low), the auto liability for company vehicles; if they have an umbrella policy, and if so – it is limited; and their worker compensation coverage.

6. Get it in Writing

Make sure the contract details each step of the project:

  • Scope of work (what is included – and what is NOT included in the project)
  • Schedule or Timeline
  • Expectations and performance guidelines
  • Cost of the project
  • Payment schedule you have a big project in mind, one that will significantly impact your lifestyle and home value. 

Choosing the right remodeling contractor is important to ensure your investment is sound. Once you’ve vetted your candidates, it’s time to choose. After this investigation, you should feel comfortable with your choice and be able to move forward confidently. If you have questions about remodeling contractors or remodelers' hiring process, please contact Country Creek Builders at 952-484-9812.

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