Archive for category What makes a good contractor?
Posted by Stephanie Roessler in Bathroom Remodeling, Build Value, Design Trends, Destin Remodeling Contractors, diy don'ts, Do It Yourself, Home Addition Ideas, Home Repair, Outdoor Spaces, Remodeling, Remodeling in Destin Florida, Renovations that Add Value, Room Additions, What makes a good contractor? on July 17, 2014
Great list for the Do-it-Yourself weekend warrior or anyone looking to remodel in the future!
Well, when it comes to Home renovation projects figuring out what you want is the fun part. The worst part is figuring out how much you want to spend. Follow these steps to plan your own remodeling project.
1. Ballpark the costs: The first step is to get a handle on how much your remodeling dreams will cost. Remodeling Magazines 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report gives national averages for 35 common projects. Or you can use a per-square-foot estimate. In general, $100 to $200 per square foot. At this point you’re not trying to nail down exact prices, but to get a rough sense of what your project might cost.
2. Figure out how much you have to spend: Do you have the money to do everything that you want? If your paying cash its pretty easy to figure out. But if your borrowing, you need to see how much a lender will give you.
3. Get quotes from contractors: Once you have some idea of how much your renovation will cost and how much you have to spend. You can decide if you can move forward with a renovation plans.
Don’t ask contractors for bids yet. First you need to determine exactly what you want, right down to the kitchen countertop material and the type of faucet. By specifying these details up front, you will be able to really get a true bid from the contractor. If you are not using an architect or an interior designer its time to get busy yourself. Visit showrooms, cut out magazine articles and search the internet.
Next get recommendations from friends and neighbors of at least 3 contractors. Give each one your project description and specific product lists and request a bid. To make a final choice look at some of their previous work and references, then choose the contractor you feel the most comfortable with. For more information about finding a good contractor see the article we previously posted on How to Pick a Contractor .
4. prioritize and phase: Take the winning contractors bid and add a 15% to 20% contingency for unseen problems and changes that occur on every project. Is this figure still with in your budget? If so then you’re ready to get started. If your finances are not in alignment then its time to re-evaluate the project and maybe scale back the original scope or create two projects and do one now and one in the next year.
Get the Contractors if you need to adjust the scope of the work. Explain that you want to hire him (you’re not trying to nickel and dime him) but the bid is over your budget. Ask for recommendations on cutting costs. They have a wealth of information and ideas on how to get the look you want, but getting it within your budget.
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The biggest mistake according to Mike Holmes, host of Holmes on Homes on HGTV, “the one that starts a chain of events ending in disappointment and frustration, is the notion that they want the renovation done ‘fast’ and they want it done ‘cheap’. And lest’s face it: in the renovation game, fast and cheap add up to just one thing–crap.”
I love that quote, it sums it up perfectly. Your home is normally your biggest asset remember that when you’re thinking about taking an extremely low quote. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are searching for a Remodeling Professional.
1. ASK FOR REFERRALS: Word of mouth, no question, it’s the best way to find a qualified professional.
2. LOOK AT CREDENTIALS: Call the county to find out whether he or she holds the required license from the state and local municipalities, as well as designations from any professional associations like the National Association of The Remodeling Industry (NARI) or the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).
3. INTERVIEW CANDIDATES: How many? The right answer may be one, if they meet all your criteria. However, we recommend no more than three. It gets too confusing if there are more than three. Remember that you are looking for the best person fo the job not the one who returns you call first. If a contractor says “he will try to fit you in as soon as he can” and to “please be patient”, take that as a sign that he isn’t going to take shortcuts on his current project just to get to yours that much sooner. Skilled contractors are in demand even in today’s market. Please don’t be surprised if contractors don’t immediately answer their phones–they’re probably standing on a ladder somewhere with their hands full. Most contractors are owner-operators, meaning that they do at least some of the work themselves. A slow response time is not always a bad sign: it shows that they are in demand and it is a pretty good indicator that they are going to be worth the wait, according to Mike Holmes of HGTV”S Holmes on Homes.
Once the meeting is set NARI, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, offers a list of questions on their website to ask potential contractors. The most important thing other than how they answer is, do they listen and is the chemistry right. This is going to be a long relationship; you have to trust the person you’re working with.
4. CHECK REFERENCES: Look at some of the contractor’s work either via website or visit a job site. Request references and then actually call the past clients.
5. GET IT IN WRITING: First ask for a quote, this won’t be as detailed as a final bid with contract but it will give you the general scope of work and prices. You may get a few extremely high quotes and a few extremely low quotes, but most likely you will get the majority of quotes that fall around the same price. The ones in the middle will most likely be right. According to Mike Holmes, the higher quotes sometimes reflect the skill level of the contractor or the price that the market demands for certain contractors who have a reputation for outstanding-quality work. Extremely low quotes often mean that the contractor doesn’t have the experience to properly quote the job, or that he knows how to take shortcuts with you home in order to undercut the legitimate competitors.
Final contracts should look professional and fair. Make sure they include a bid price and payment schedule, the scope of work, a change order clause and an express limited warranty. If everything checks out you can sign on the dotted line with confidence.