Remodeling's Three Big Myths
If you needed heart surgery, would you ever consider asking three surgeons to submit bids and then go with the lowest price? The rhetorical answer is an emphatic, “Of course not!” However, many homeowners think nothing of spending tens of thousands of dollars and opening up their home to a contractor who they have selected based solely on his price. Granted, a remodeling project is not a life threatening operation. But it could have a definite effect on your family’’s well being and financial health. Many factors other than price need to be considered before the best contractor for the specific project is found.
A common tactic is to solicit three contractors for bids. The homeowner will often throw out the high and low, and take the middle, confident he’s minimized his risk by dropping both extremes. Price drives the selection. As an afterthought, the homeowner may or may not check the company’’s reputation, references, insurance and licensing documentation.
No job interview begins by negotiating salary, and hiring a contractor should be no different. Before you get to compensation, you want to be sure you have a qualified applicant.
One of the first things to check is reference. It’’s important that you talk with people who have hired the contractor to do jobs similar to yours. A beautifully remodeled kitchen or bath sheds little light on the contractor’’s ability to add a second story to your home. You’’ll want to ask the references if they had any problems with the quality, payment schedule, employees or completion time. The most telltale question you can ask a reference is, “Would you hire this contractor again?” Some people will be hesitant to make negative comments, but the enthusiasm with which this question is answered can usually tell you everything you need to know.
After you’ve spoken to the references, take a close look at the work. Check the quality of the craftsmanship and materials, overall aesthetics and creativity, and how the project blends in with the rest of the house.
Also, verify the contractor’’s licensing and insurance. If you hire a contractor who doesn’t carry workers compensation and one of his employees falls off your roof, you could be held liable for the medical bills and lost wages.
One indication of a professional contractor is their membership in a national trade association such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) or the Remodelors® Council. DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen associated with The Remodeler is a participating member of several professional trade associations. We encourage our employees to be involved in such organizations to further their skills and professionalism. We strongly believe that continuing education has been a key factor in our success as a general contractor.
Another indication of professionalism is the type of warranty a contractor offers. Most contractors offer some sort of a warranty. But remember, a warranty is only as good as the company backing it. Once you have done your homework and feel confident the contractor has a proven track record of quality and service, then it’’s time to discuss the project’’s details and price.
As with most job applicants the decision may very well come down to feeling comfortable with the contractor and being able to communicate. The contractor will be spending many hours in your home, so it’’s important you feel comfortable with him from the beginning. You should be able to work together combining your ideas and his expertise to turn your vision into a final product. DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen associated with Pinkerton Homes, Inc. provides excellent customer service through open lines of communication with our clients.
When you purchase a new car, you’re purchasing a product and can see what it looks like, and test-drive it to see how it feels. With a remodeling project, you’’re purchasing a concept and don’’t see the finished product until well after the contract is signed.
This is the reason why bid shopping works for automobiles but not for remodeling projects. You can ask three dealers to price a specific make and model car, and be fairly certain you are comparing like products. But with remodeling, the products could differ significantly. There can be many reasons for a low bid, including poor quality materials, poor craftsmanship, inadequate safety precautions, and lack of insurance and licensing. Or perhaps, the bid may just be from an inexperienced contractor who’’s never done a job like yours before.
Once you have selected a contractor to work with, make sure the proposal and contract are as thorough as possible, including material description, payment schedule, procedure for change orders and completion time.
If you like the contractor and are confident with his work, but he comes in with a bid that’’s beyond your budget, all hope is not lost. Ask him what can be scaled down to meet your budget. It could very well be something simple, such as using quality stock cabinets instead of custom designed ones, or selecting a different type of tile, countertop or trim.
Quality is never inexpensive and good research will inevitably pay off. We encourage you to thoroughly research the company you plan to trust with your project. DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen… The difference between built and well built.
DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen offers a free report with more helpful information called “Secrets to Successfully Remodeling Your Home.” It’’s available by simply calling (719) 636-2444 or by clicking here.
DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen associated with Pinkerton Homes, Inc. is a full service building and remodeling contractor. Please call (719) 636-2444 today with any questions you may have. We would love to help you make your dream home a reality.