When beginning a home remodeling or renovation project, working with the right person and having a clear, comprehensive plan are the key to success. Brian Becwar with D&B Property Services, a full service commercial and residential remodeling and maintenance company in Eastern Iowa, explains how to choose the right company and what to expect during the process.
Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Houzz, etc. There are several sites out there that allow the homeowner to review contractors before they even contact them.
Certainly, homeowners want to find a contractor that will not only do a great job at a fair price, but it’s likely just as important that they find a contractor they “like”, or that is a “good fit.”
Most folks understand this screening process takes place by the homeowner, but often homeowners don’t realize the contractor is screening the homeowner as well.
Over the years, I’ve experienced the full array of initial homeowner visits……
Some clients are timid and fearful to have a stranger in their home. Others welcome us with open arms and are just happy to have someone there that can help them out.
Sometimes (although rare), clients can be demeaning and distrusting – while most are genuinely appreciative and simply excited for their remodel/repairs.
Often, clients have a clear vision of the end game for their project. Some have every last detail and selection made – down to the cabinet hardware. Others want help with design and options.
All of these scenarios can certainly impact that initial visit. A friend once told me that every interaction you have with another person results in either a positive impression, or a negative impression. While it is certainly important for the homeowner to be 100% comfortable with the contractor they choose, it is equally as important for the contractor to be 100% comfortable with the client they are potentially working for.
From the perspective of an experienced contractor, here are some tips I’d recommend for any homeowner:
- Begin with a clear vision of what your project is. Go online and print pictures of what you want (contractors love to see what you have in mind.)
- If you want specific materials (faucet, flooring, paint color, etc), make a list to provide to the contractor.
- Clear out the area prior to contractor arrival. It is much easier for the contractor to measure, identify issues, and estimate costs if they can see the entire area where the project is to take place. For instance, if you want to add a bedroom to your basement, move all the boxes, toys, etc out of that area before the initial visit.
- Ask your friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations
- ALWAYS get at least three bids.
- Ask the contractors for references and follow up with those references.
- Be cautious of the contractor that can “start immediately”. While all contractors can sometimes experience slow times, most quality contractors are in high demand and not waiting for the next job to come along.
- Be cautious of the lowest bid and read the fine print! We all know that every penny counts, but some contractors give a low price to get their foot in the door, and then add costs along the way. Read over the entire estimate and question things that are not in writing. For instance, if the estimate just states “install new window”. Does this include removal of the old, disposal/haul away of the old, new trim work on the inside, siding repairs on the outside, etc? And what if hidden damage is exposed once the window is removed (mold, rot, etc)?
MOST IMPORTANTLY – go with your gut. Even if the contractor that you feel best about is on the higher end of the cost spectrum, working with someone you like and trust is hard to put a price on.
At the end of the day, you want to make an improvement to your home, and the contractor wants to help out. Often, the first project turns into several more, and a life-long relationship between the homeowner and contractor is established. Being mindful of the aforementioned information can certainly be helpful in getting that relationship off on the right foot.
These tips should make it easier to begin that project or remodel you’ve been thinking about for your home. D&B Property Services offers 0% financing and free estimates. To request a quote, visit here.