Q: I’m looking into having some remodeling done in my house. How many bids should I get?
A: If you needed heart surgery, would you consider asking three surgeons to submit bids and then go with the lowest? Of course not! Yet, many homeowners think nothing of spending thousands of dollars and opening their home to a remodeler they have selected based solely on price. A remodeling project is not a life threatening operation. But it could have a big effect on the family’s well being and financial health.
No job interview begins by negotiating salary, and hiring a contractor should be no different. Be sure you have a qualified applicant. First check references. Ask if they had any problems. And the best question is, “Would you hire this contractor again”?
After checking references, visit some of the completed projects. Also, verify the remodeler’s licensing and insurance. If the remodeler is not licensed and insured, you could be liable for the medical bills and lost wages if someone gets hurt.
Professionals will usually have a membership in associations such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelors® Council and the Better Business Bureau. A fly-by-night con artist is not going to leave a paper trail.
Do they warrant their work? But, a warranty is only as good as the company backing it. Once you feel confident the remodeler has a proven track record, then it’s time to discuss the project’s details and price. The decision may very well come down to feeling comfortable with the remodeler and being able to communicate.
Maybe the contractor comes in with a proposal that’s beyond your budget, all hope is not lost. Ask him what can be scaled down to meet your budget. It very well could be something minor.
Quality is never cheap and good research may seem like a headache. But see what an expensive headache really is by having a low bidder take the roof off your house, disconnect the plumbing and leave no forwarding address as he skips out on the final payment.