Hiring a good remodeling contractor is key to the success of your home improvement projects. By selecting the right remodeling contractor and creating a sensible contract, you can ensure the work will be completed properly and to your specifications, avoid payment disputes, reduce issues while the work is being performed, and eliminate con artists. While selecting the right remodeling contractor can be time-consuming, your efforts will pay off in the long run.
Tips On Hiring A Good Home Remodeling Contractor
1. Get Recommendations
Begin your search for a home improvement contractor by getting recommendations from family, friends and co-workers. Another resource is the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). No matter which resource you use, it’s best to stick with contractors who have been established in the Fort Lauderdale area for some time.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, it’s best to avoid contractors who:
- solicit door-to-door
- only accept payments in cash
- require you to get the required building permits
- pressure you for an immediate decision
- ask for payment of the entire job upfront
- just happen to have materials left over from a previous job
- offer exceptionally long guarantees, and
- suggest you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows.
2. Interview Contractors
Once you’ve created a list of possible contractor candidates, conduct telephone interviews to determine if they are available, can handle the type and size of your project, and can provide recent references. Narrow your list to at least three contractors and schedule meetings in your home. In addition to asking more questions, this will be your opportunity to see how well you can communicate with the contractor. This is important, since you will most likely be dealing with the contractor on a daily basis.
In-home interview questions should include:
- How long the contractor has been in business. Be sure to verify the answer.
- Is the contractor licensed in the State of Florida. You can verify this information on the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation website.
- Types of accreditation he or she has, and what insurance policies are in force. This can be important to prevent your being responsible for worker’s compensation claims. At a minimum, a contractor should have personal liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and property damage coverage. Get policy numbers and call the insurance companies to verify coverage.
- Find out who is actually going to be at your house managing the project. If the person you are interviewing is not the one, arrange a follow-up interview with the other person as well.
- Discuss how many other projects are scheduled to take place during your project’s timeline. If you sense a less than solid answer about how the manpower needed for your project will be available, take note!
- Experienced home remodelers should be candid in telling you about running over budget. One good closing question is to ask how many of the last ten projects have actually come in on or under the initial budget.
3. Get Written Bids
The contractors you interview in your home should all be required to provide written bids. The bids should include a breakdown by cost of the work that will be performed and the materials needed. When comparing bids, be sure you are comparing apples to apples. One bid might be higher because the contractor is using higher-quality materials, or paying a licensed professional — like an electrician or plumber — to perform certain repairs. Be sure to have a clear understanding about the variation in price for each contractor’s bid. As a general rule of thumb, eliminate bids that are significantly lower than the others. An extremely low bid might mean the contractor is using low-quality materials, cuts corners, or is desperate for work.
4. Sign A Written Contract
Written contracts are the absolute bare minimum required for all home improvement projects. The written contract should include everyone’s expectations and responsibilities for the project. Most home improvement problems do not arise from crooked contractors, instead the arise because the homeowner and contractor have different expectations for the project.
Due diligence in finding the right home remodeling contractor can pay off when it comes to increasing the enjoyment of your Fort Lauderdale luxury home, and its value! If you would like professional feedback on potential improvements to your property with the best return on investment, contact us!