Before hiring a remodeling contractor, be sure to discuss the scope of work. Contractors will typically work within the scope of the contract. A detailed estimate will spell out what is included in the project. If the scope is unclear, discuss what you want your contractor to do and clarify any terms. Make sure the contractor’s estimate includes all services. This way, you won’t get stuck paying for something you don’t want. And, of course, if you have specific questions, you can ask them.
The first step in preparing a quote is choosing the right remodeling contractor. Contractors may provide a free estimate, but make sure you get a quote before letting them start work. Remember, the remodeling contractor you hire will rip out walls and spend money, so choose carefully. Ask for itemized prices before hiring a remodeling contractor. This way, you can compare apples-to-apples and pinpoint where you can cut costs. Also, be sure to ask for references from previous clients.
After finding a few prospective remodeling contractors, do some preliminary research. Check each contractor’s credentials, including their licensing and certification. Look for the National Kitchen and Bath Association or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry certification. Certified contractors have completed course work and passed a rigorous exam. Once you’ve made a list of prospective contractors, contact them by phone or in person. Then, make an appointment to visit their work site to see if they’re qualified to handle your remodeling project.
The next step in hiring a remodeling contractor is to review their portfolios. If they don’t have any, ask to see a portfolio of their recent work. Depending on the size of the job, this may be in the form of a physical portfolio or an online gallery with images. Regardless of the format, a good remodeling portfolio should include at least ten projects, including photos before the work began, during the remodel and after. Also, ask to see copies of their blueprints or sketches. These can give the homeowner a better idea of how they’ll approach the remodel.
Another thing to consider is whether or not the remodeling contractor is willing to take on additional tasks. While it is possible to work with a contractor who is willing to accept a change order, you should ask if you can work together on other tasks. If the contract is clear, this would prevent the contractor from denying you steady work. The contractor should be happy to complete additional tasks if you feel comfortable with them. If the contractor refuses to work with you despite the fact that you’ve arranged a prior relationship with him or her, you’re likely to get a lawsuit.
While handymen can do simple projects, remodeling contractors focus on more complex tasks. They can remodel rooms or build entire decks. They can even install electrical and plumbing systems. However, bigger projects usually require more specialized work, such as remodeling the entire house or renovating certain rooms. In fact, hiring a remodeling contractor is a better idea if you don’t want to take on a big project yourself. So, do not hire a general contractor if you’re unsure of what type of work you need done.