You’re ready to start that home improvement project, but you don’t have the time or skills to tackle it on your own. Hiring a contractor is the way to go. But, hiring the right one can be a challenge. How can you choose a home remodeling contractor that’s right for your project?
When you choose a contractor, think of it as hiring a new employee for a job. You wouldn’t hire the first person who applies, would you? It’s the same for a contractor. Examine previous work portfolios, check licenses, get referrals, and gather multiple bids before you make your final decision.
Step 1: Get Recommendations
The first step to choosing a remodeling contractor is to create a list of 10-15 local contractors by compiling a “starter list.” Here are some ways to begin:
- Ask other friends for recommendations who have had recent renovations.
- Do an online search for the type of service you’ll need.
- Read online reviews.
- Use social media outlets to ask friends or followers for local recommendations.
Red Flags: Be careful of contractors who lack basic information such as a website, social media presence, portfolios, and reviews.
Step 2: Compare Portfolios
You want a contractor who specializes in what you need. Someone who primarily does kitchen remodeling may not be the right fit for your bathroom project. Ask each contractor on your list for a portfolio from at least the past year. Compare their work to help you determine which one has the creativity, skills, and expertise.
Red Flags: Pay attention to a portfolio with too few projects, no before and after photos, or grainy and hard to see images. Also, most contractors include their best work. If the completed projects are not up to your standards, it’s likely their work is not for you. Take them off your list.
Step 3: Check Licensing & Certification
By now you should’ve pared down your list from the 10-15 to more around 6-8. The next step will help you narrow the playing field much more. Each project requires a particular licensing and certification. Since legal requirements vary by state, call the licensing division to ask for specific requirements. Make sure the contractors you’re considering carrying a current license and certification to complete the job safely and legally. Also, make sure they have liability insurance and ask for a copy of their current policies.
Red Flags: Mark off any contractors who don’t have the right credentials. Also, cross off anyone who’s hesitant or takes too long to get the information to you.
Step 4: Check References
Now, it’s time to start checking references. The average reference list includes ten or more jobs including a name, address, and telephone number for their customer. Ask for the dates of the completed project if it’s not already listed. Cross out any that receive poor reviews. Here’s a list of questions you might want to ask.
Red Flags: A red flag may be too few references or significant time gaps between references. A hole doesn’t automatically mean trouble, but ask before assuming the worst.
Step 5: Get Bids
By now you’ve weeded out contractors who do subpar work. The next step is to get bids from the remaining contractors on your list. One thing to remember is that it’s not always best to go with the lowest bid. Material or amount of work will differ from contractor to contractor. Consider your overall goals when choosing which proposal is best for you.
Red Flags: Be wary of any contractor who tries to pressure you into signing right away or are only good for a limited time.
Choose a Home Remodeling Contractor
Do you need a remodeling contractor for your home improvement project? CL Webb Construction Services is a full-service construction company specializing in residential interiors, exteriors, remodeling, additions, sunrooms, outdoor living spaces, roofs, metal buildings, and new home building in Northwest Arkansas. Call us today and let’s talk about your project. (479) 595-3309
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