Choosing the Right Contractor
Most builders can remodel and most remodeling contractors can build, so what's the difference? Building homes is a construction business while remodeling is a service business. Our clients understand the difference between the two. Work on a new home is completed in the field at the project site. A homeowner is usually involved, but they don't LIVE THERE! Remodeling usually occurs in the homeowner's house from start to finish. In remodeling, crews are expected to be polite, friendly, competent, timely, as well as good listeners and communicators. Even the sub-contractors that a contractor uses on a remodel project must employ only hand-picked skilled individuals who can work around people all day long. It is also important to know the people who enter your home. Bedrock does not shop for subcontractors; we have a family of subcontractors we trust and employ frequently. They are an integral part of the Bedrock Team.
The most important step you can take to eliminate headaches during your remodeling project is to choose the right contractor. The following steps will help you pick the right professional for the job:
- Get referrals from friends and neighbors who have had similar work done.
- Use the resources located on the National Association of the Remodeling Industry website to find and choose the right contractor for you.
- Look for remodeling contractors who have done business for years in the community.
- Review your plans and your projected budget with each bidder.
- Solicit proposals from at least three contractors who have passed the above tests.
- Ask each bidder for referrals from past clients.
- Check with the Contractors License Board to verify licensing, bonding, and complaint record.
- Understand every stroke of a detailed contract.
Focus on the Details
To ensure that the contractors give you an accurate bid, you must provide each with copies of the floor plans and a complete list of major appliances, fixtures or other big-ticket items. You should not disclose what others have bid - professionals should not care or need to know this information.
Make sure each bid reflects the actual plans and materials list submitted, with no substitutions or changes. You do not want to find out during construction that a contractor submitted a low bid based on different materials.
Non-payment of bills can cause problems. If the remodeler you paid does not pay a supplier or worker, you subsequently could be held financially responsible by the unpaid party. You should require lien releases upon progress payments to avoid this situation.
If you obtain your own building permits, you will be responsible for making sure the work meets local building codes in order to get the permit finalized.
Vague or unclear contracts are just the beginning of poor communication between a contractor and client. It doesn't take much for a little miscommunication to snowball into an avalanche of problems that are expensive, upsetting and an unproductive use of valuable time. A sound, detailed contract between the homeowner and the remodel contractor is the best insurance for the smooth completion of any remodel project.
Details, details, details -- that is the mantra.
Choose with Confidence
A professional remodeling contractor should instill confidence in you with his ability to provide insightful solutions, stay within budget, and perform work on a timely basis. He will be proud of his past remodel projects and will arrange for you to see some of them that are similar to your upcoming remodel project. Ask the contractor's referrals if the project was completed on time.