The following discussion is not meant to replace the basics in choosing a remodeler, but to help you go beyond the basics in your selection process.
Keep in mind that a professional remodeler will also use professional subcontractors for electrical and plumbing work. Obviously, you want a safe electrical installation. You also don’t want a plumbing mess to handle, especially water damage to your newly renovated home.
Now that we have looked at some of the basics in pre-screening contractors, let’s look at the finer considerations in choosing the remodeler who is the right remodeler for you.
It is always beneficial for you to speak with references. I would not consider working with someone who can’t provide references. When you speak with these references ask about how the project went. Also ask what they liked most and what they liked least. Although they may have loved the contractor, there is usually something that they liked least.
Another part of your decision in choosing a contractor is to gauge whether the contractor has experience in the type of project you are interested in. For example, if you want to renovate your kitchen you would want to choose someone who has experience remodeling kitchens. Even beyond that there are many differences. Some contractors have more expertise in different areas of construction. Some specialize in doing simple, straightforward work, while others specialize in designing the project around your needs. It is important for you to determine who will best suit your specific needs. A professional contractor is confident in explaining his services and experience. He will gladly provide you with multiple examples of previous projects similar to the one you have in mind.
Now that you have done the preliminary steps in selecting the remodeling professional you want to work with it is time for your next step. The initial meeting with the potential contractor can tell you a lot about what the future holds if you decide to choose this remodeler.
A key aspect in choosing your contractor is communication. Depending on the size of your project you could be dealing with your contractor for an extended period of time. Therefore it is critical that he is willing to listen and communicate. For you, that means that he pays attention and appreciates your needs and is able to clearly explain all aspects of the project. Listening to and understanding your needs can make or break your project. You want to work with someone who listens, is open to your ideas, but who can also recommend solutions to satisfy your dreams for the project. Both you and your contractor must realize that this is your home and your project.Communication is critical to a successful outcome, whether your project is a small enhancement or a major home improvement. It starts with the professional remodeler asking the right questions and listening to your answers. It includes his ability to understand your needs, wants and goals. It also includes his ability to rapidly assess the project and create a proposal that is understandable without being over complicated.
Care and Honesty
These abilities encompass a sense of caring and honesty and the willingness to do what it takes to satisfy you. Just as you want to work with a contractor who is willing to communicate to you, it is equally important that you communicate openly and honestly to him. With good communication you will end up with a successful project, a project that satisfies your hopes and dreams, and a project that your contractor will be proud of.
Lorraine Hart is the president and senior consultant for Ideal Consulting. Ideal has been providing business consulting, coaching, and training of small businesses in the construction industry since 1992. Lorraine has been writing and managing content for numerous organizations for over 25 years. She is a national member of NARI and contributor to its national blog. She is also a regular contributor to Remodeling Today and the coordinator and editor of the weekly home articles for the Houston Chronicle. On top of all that, Lorraine is also a member of the GHBA, the Remodelers Council, Custom Builders Council, and the Bay Area Builders.