When you’re getting ready to remodel or renovate your home, you spend hours poring over options for countertops, floors, and other details. But you probably spend far less time thinking about how to find a contractor who will actually do the work.
A good contractor can make or break a home renovation. You need to live with the work they do day in and day out long after the project ends, so picking the right person or company is essential.
With so many contractors out there, how do you know where to start and what to look for? Here are some of the things we’ve learned from our time in this business.
What Do You Need?
Like any business, not all contractors are the same. Some have specific areas of focus or only work in a certain geographic area. Before you get too deep into your search, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for in a contractor.
A few questions to ask yourself as you are starting the home renovation process:
- What’s your budget?
- Are you under any time constraints?
- What areas of the house will the remodel focus on?
- Do you have a specific design in mind, or are you looking to the contractor for recommendations?
If you’re not sure exactly what you want, err on the side of a general contractor. All Trades is a one-stop shop for kitchens, bathrooms, painting, and anything else you need as part of a home renovation.
We can assist with everything from lighting to flooring, working with a design you specify or helping you think through your options before making a final decision.
Narrowing The Field
Even in an age of Google reviews and sites like Angie’s List, the best contractors often come from word-of-mouth recommendations. It’s one thing to read a review by an anonymous person online, but something else entirely to hear about someone’s real-life experience with a contractor.
Begin your search by asking friends and family for their recommendations, good and bad. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and dive deeper into specific areas like price and professionalism. Unlike an online review, talking to someone in person also allows you to see the contractor’s work firsthand.
You can take the information you receive and compare it to a contractor’s online reviews and the information they provide on their websites. Once you’ve found a few viable options, ask for references and check them before making a final decision.
At All Trades, we take pride in providing the best possible experience to all of our customers. Our customer testimonials demonstrate this commitment to providing a high level of service, no matter how large or small the project may be.
At any point during the process, if you notice that a contractor does not want to comply with what you’re asking for, treat that as a major red flag and stop considering them immediately. Shady behavior at the early stages of the process usually does not bode well for what that contractor will be like once work actually begins.
Another big red flag to look for is lack of communication. If it’s difficult to get a hold of someone to provide an estimate or ask questions, what will that mean when you’re trying to reach them once the project begins?
We’ve all seen TV shows where contractors “ghost” their clients and simply stop showing up to the job site. You do not want to find yourself in that position of starting from square one with a half-finished project on your hands.
Be wary when a contractor asks for a large down payment before starting work on a project. A small portion of the total cost up front is standard, but anything more than that signals financial problems that you do not want to be part of.
Once you are ready for work to begin, put into writing everything that you are looking for, as well as the agreed upon price for the work to be completed. You don’t want to have any surprises once the project begins.
It’s also important to make sure your contractor is licensed and carries the proper insurance for your project. They should also be familiar with the process for obtaining permits in your city or town, and understand what permits are required to complete your desired renovation project.
Finally, don’t be afraid to trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right to you, it’s probably for a good reason. There are plenty of contractors out there, so don’t feel like you need to stick with someone if you don’t have a good feeling about them.
Making a Final Decision
The contractor is always building trust or losing trust. For instance:
- Did they have the plans and pricing ready when they promised them?
- Did they set the next appointment and move the process along and not drop the ball?
- Do they offer clear cost options and price transparency? (What’s the sense of one big price without the option to move around the price ranges?)
Professional contractors like All Trades have a process and a plan to make buying from them easy. We work hard to always be earning your trust. Chances are, if a contractor shows up late constantly, makes lots of excuses, and can’t explain cost options, then that’s likely how your job will run: poorly and with frustration – certainly not worth the stress.
Your contractor is there to guide you and to care about you, and that’s a vibe that sometimes can’t be put into words. It’s a connection and a sense that your needs are put ahead of theirs. You’ll know when you’ve chosen the right company when communication, design, aesthetics, craftsmanship, and the intangibles are delivered to you and your family, and all you can think is, “ What’s my next project with All Trades?” and “Who can I brag to about my contractor?”
And oh yes, your home looks incredible, beautiful, beyond your imagination! Contact us to learn more about how we can help with your next home renovation project.