So you’ve decided to remodel your bathroom, congratulations! A remodeled bathroom will typically return 80-90% of your investment at resale, and the enjoyment that you’ll get once the remodel is complete is priceless.
Remodeling your bathroom, depending on how drastic of a change you’re looking for, can be a big task. Finding a good honest contractor to help handle the job is a necessity. But before you pick up the phone, it’s important to make some initial decisions.
- What’s my budget?
- How strict is my budget?
- What do I want and what do I need?
Do you have your heart set on specific building materials such as a tile shower or granite countertops? Once you’ve answered all of these questions it’s time to start your search. A number of factors need to be taken into consideration when searching for your ideal bathroom remodeling contractor. Below are 4 tips toward finding a good, honest contractor.
1. The Search- Once you have armed yourself with a good plan and a set budget it’s time to find a contractor.
Websites like goodhonestcontractor.com are devoted to matching people like you with their ideal contractor. You may also ask friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbors if they have any recommendations- or just as importantly, for the names of contractors that they wouldn’t hire again.
A contractor's reputation among former clients is the best gauge of his or her work. It's also a good idea to look at the work a contractor has done for previous clients. If they have a website where you can look at projects they have completed, even better. Below is a good list of questions to ask when searching for a contractor:
- Did your contractor finish the job within budget? If not, what caused the overage? Were you informed of additional costs as they came up?
- How did the contractor handle setbacks or glitches? Was he or she easy to work with when the going got rough?
- What was the contractor's crew like? Were they respectful?
- Did they clean up after themselves each day?
- If plans were changed while the work was in progress, were the changes accommodated, or was the contractor inflexible?
2. Set up appointments for estimates and interviews- You’ll want to set up appointments with at least three contractors. The more the better, so if you find more than three prospects by all means interview them all. Get estimates from your prospects. Estimates should be free and you may even come away with good ideas that you would like to implement in your bathroom, even if you don’t end up with that specific contractor. Areas to cover during this initial interview also include proof of worker’s compensation insurance and any licenses that your state requires.
3. Conduct a thorough prospect background check- Once you have narrowed down the list of potential candidates, it’s important to do your homework. These people are going to be in your home and involved in a large financial investment so check them out thoroughly. Here are a few things to take into consideration:
Gather References- A professional will easily give you a list of references and volunteer this information from the beginning of the process. If certification is a requirement in your area, make sure to see their credentials. If they are unwillingly to supply any of this information it may be a red flag.
Call References- Call references directly and ask them the following questions:
- Would you use this contractor again?
- Were there any complications? If so, did the contractor respond promptly, was he courteous and did he charge you for any additional work?
- Did the job come in on budget? If not, by how much did he exceed budget? Were the extra charges justified?
- Was a designated foreman available to address your concerns? You want a point person for questions and concerns you have throughout the job.
Check with the BBB- Search the Better Business Bureau website at "http://www.bbb.org" to locate your local bureau. Enter the company’s name on the website to see if they are BBB accredited and if they have any complaints against them.
4. Other Aspects to Consider- Here are a few other factors to bring up and keep in mind when hiring your ideal contractor.
Remodel vs. Addition- If this is a remodeling job rather than an addition, be sure the contractor you choose has lot of experience in remodeling specifically and not just construction. Remodeling takes it to the next level and often requires a great deal of routing, plumbing, and working with existing structure and infrastructure.
Remodel Timetable- It’s valuable to know what kind of timetable you’re looking at. A bathroom remodel can completely disrupt your daily life so it’s important to have a timetable and to stick to it in order to cause you and your family the least amount of stress.
Checking on licensing- Most states license home remodeling contractors, so check that your potential contractor has a license. But don’t rely too heavily on the fact that your prospect is licensed. Just because a contractor is licensed and clean doesn’t mean that they are a good contractor.
Habits of Contractor’s work crew- Don’t be afraid to ask about the ins and outs of the work crew and their daily schedules. After all this is your most personal of all spaces.
A good contractor often will offer this nature of information without even being asked. What are the start and end times? And how do they plan on taking care of bathroom runs?