Hiring a home remodeling contractor is no different from hiring a new employee. You always follow a process and consider beyond the first candidate.
Make a list of prospects.
Begin by listing down 10 to 15 contractors who work on projects that align with yours. You have many ways of looking for prospects – read online reviews, check out social media, or just ask friends and relatives for recommendations.
Contractors can be generalists, but always choose a specialist, especially one whose creativity stands out. From each contractor, ask for a portfolio of at least ten projects they have completed within the past year. Photos should be provided for every space before, during and after the project was completed.
Ask about licensing and certification.
Home improvement contractors can hold varying licenses or certifications, depending on what types of projects they handle. Legal requirements are also unique for every state, so call your local licensing office to be clear on this. Of course, this should come with choosing a contractor who has liability and workers compensation insurance, and don’t hesitate to ask for copies of their policies.
A reputable contractor will be happy to give you client references with complete contact information. Absolutely, you have to talk to each one and keep notes during your phone call.
Look at one finished project.
After talking to references and crossing out the ones who got bad reviews, decide which of the remaining references you’ll want to visit so you can see the contractor’s work yourself. Obviously, you need to get their permission before you can do that. It’s good to pick project that was finished a few years ago so you can determine how well it fared over time.
Ask for bids.
Lastly, after thoroughly consulting the contractors on your list, ask each of them for a bid. This should include a project timeline, the types of materials they plan to use, and the project’s overall cost. While reviewing the quotes, take note that cheapest isn’t necessarily best. The materials or amount of labor can vary for different contractors. A woodworker who makes cabinets by hand, for instance, will probably be more expensive than a contractor who uses prefab, but you will surely notice a considerable difference in the final total look of your kitchen. Define your overall goals for your renovation and use them as your basis for choosing a contractor.