How To Choose a Home Remodeling Contractor
The home remodeling contractor who you choose to work on your home can make or break your remodeling project. Scratch that … The contractor you choose can mean the difference between getting your dream home and getting stuck with mistakes that will cost you a pretty penny to undo. For this reason, you don’t want to hire the first contractor you find online, and probably not the second or third for that matter. Rather, do your due diligence, interview a few promising candidates and only hire someone after you feel confident that he or she can deliver the results you want and expect on time and within budget. Use these four tips to guide your search.
Conduct a Local Search
Home improvement projects often go awry because the contractors homeowners hire are difficult to get ahold of and don’t communicate well. While any contractor can be poor at communicating, local business owners are less likely to flake on their customers than those from out of town.
Local contractors generally show more accountability than remote ones as they know that their reputations are on the line. Moreover, local contractors have local headquarters and so are easy to find. Finally, local contractors have connections to the areas and people they serve and want their communities to flourish, whereas out-of-town remodelers do not feel one way or another about their customers or homes.
You can easily find a home remodeling contractor in Oakland, MI, by conducting a quick Google search. Though you should not just choose the company that ranks in the first position, you can use it as a great starting off point.
Reviews are the best way to get an honest assessment of a contractor’s quality of work, work ethic, integrity, and more. Because a home remodeling project is a huge investment, don’t just satisfy yourself with the reviews you find on a company’s website (though that is a great place to start). Rather, look for testimonials on third-party sites, such as Yelp, the BBB, and Angi. Read at least five reviews and look for company responses. How a company responds to both good and bad feedback can tell you a lot about the owner’s character.
Check Out Photo Galleries
Quality contractors are proud of their work and showcase it on their websites, social media profiles, and other business profiles. To make sure a contractor can really do what he or she claims to be able to do, check out photo galleries. Look specifically for photos of the type of remodeling you want to be done, as not all contractors are created equal. Some contractors, for instance, specialize in kitchen and bath remodels while others prefer to tackle bedrooms and basements.
If a company doesn’t feature photos on its website, don’t discount it entirely. Contact the firm and ask for photos of past work. Legitimate contractors will happily send a portfolio via email, text or snail mail, or even deliver it in person.
Call for a Quote
A good rule of thumb is to get between two to five quotes from contractors before making a final decision. While you can learn a lot from a contractor’s website, reviews, and photos, an initial estimate can serve as the final piece of information you need to get a complete picture of someone. For instance, a quote that far exceeds all others may indicate that customer service takes a back seat to profits for one contractor. A quote that is far below average, on the other hand, may indicate that the contractor does not know what he or she is doing.
In addition to the total price, the estimate should contain a cost breakdown of materials and labor. Compare each contractor’s total price and line-item estimates to each other and eliminate any that are exponentially higher or lower than the rest. Ultimately, however, you should select the contractor who offers work within your budget, with whom you feel most comfortable and who appears to do high-quality work.