Hiring the right remodeling contractor can make all the difference in your project’s success. But hiring the wrong one can lead to delays, subpar work and even legal problems. Here are the top tips to help you find a good contractor for your next home renovation:
First, ask friends and family for recommendations. They’ll know which contractors they’ve used and whose work they’ve been happy with. Similarly, check with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or your local lumberyard to see which companies they’ve worked with.
After you’ve made your list, set up an initial meeting with a few potential candidates in person, suggests House Logic, and listen for how well the candidates communicate their ideas. You’ll also want to evaluate their reliability, availability and professionalism. If you don’t feel comfortable with the personality of a candidate, move on.
You should also request a full set of blueprints to review and compare bids. This way, you can compare costs, says Nolo. You should get an itemized bid that details the total cost of materials, labor and profit margins.
The price of your remodeling project will vary depending on the size of the job and the extent of the upgrades you want to make. For example, a simple kitchen remodel typically costs between $6,000 and $7,500.
When comparing bids, consider the overall experience of the remodeler and how long they’ve been in business. A contractor with more than 10 years in business may be able to offer you an affordable solution, suggests Nolo.
Another important factor to consider is their licensing and certifications. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends checking a contractor’s licensing status by visiting the state’s website. A licensed contractor will have the proper insurance and worker’s compensation, which protects you in case of accidents or injuries on site.
Once you’ve narrowed your search to three or four reputable candidates, it’s time to schedule interviews. These are not just to get an idea of their work ethic and qualifications, but to learn if they’re a good fit for you and your family.
You’ll also want to know if the contractors are insured and whether they take care of building permits, which is a must in New York City. A good contractor will follow your local laws and be willing to discuss payment schedules, which is essential for any home renovation.
If you’re renovating in a condominium or co-op, be sure to check with your building board and its rules about renovations. It’s common for condo boards to have specific rules about alterations that affect the unit’s exterior or interior.
Your contractor should also be available for regular inspections and follow code requirements, according to Tom Silva, general contractor at This Old House. A building inspector can spot issues such as missing or improper permits and unreliable contractors, he says.
The best contractor for your project should be someone you trust and can rely on to meet deadlines, provide high-quality work, and keep you informed throughout the entire process. The right contractor for you can make the difference between a happy home renovation and a nightmare, notes This Old House.