Whether you’ve been perusing Pinterest, collecting ideas for your next major remodel, or finding inspiration to finally figure out what to do with that empty room that’s collecting dust – you’ve probably been thinking about what it takes to hire a remodeling professional. But there are so many things that can make your remodeling experience either a dream-come-true, or a complete nightmare. Finding the right company to work with is one of the first steps toward a positive remodeling experience.
Here are the things you want to look for prior to hiring a remodeling professional:
Make Sure They’re Licensed, Bonded & Insured
For your protection, your remodeler needs to be licensed, bonded, and insured. A bond serves as an agreement between you, the contractor, and the issuing agent that the contractor will complete the job according to the agreed terms. Any reputable remodeler will carry two kinds of insurance: general liability and workers’ compensation. General liability covers damage to your home, while workers’ compensation pays anyone working on your home who is injured on the job.
It’s the job of your remodeler to build confidence with you. Your remodeler should be forthcoming and honest with you and offer it up without your request. However, if they don’t, make sure you ask to see it.
Great companies don’t just serve themselves — they serve the communities they live in. Volunteering and community involvement shows you their motives are deeper than just generating business. If their community work isn’t easily found in an online search or their website, ask them how they help their community. This will tell you a great deal about the values behind the remodeling company.
If you’re actively looking for a remodeler, you’ve probably already scoped out the online reviews of your top choices. They’re important. Though asking your neighbors can be a great way to get a referral, online reviews tend to give more insight to what it’s really like to work with a company.
Reviews on Houzz are verified and tend be in-depth and detailed about the homeowners’ experience with a remodeling company. Plus, you’ll get a better idea of what the experience is truly like across several reviews, rather than the word of a single neighbor.
Beware of Online Referral Networks
It’s important for homeowners to understand that online referral networks like HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, and Angie’s List are paid networks. This means that contractors pay to be listed on these sites. Furthermore, these paid referral networks usually gather very little background information on listed contractors. They typically only (simply) confirm that the contractor’s (their) license is current and (are) in good standing, and then collect a fee. Some of these networks do however, confirm the contractors insurance status as well.
If you’re looking for good-faith, honest, and reliable reviews, look to Houzz or Google.
Check out Their Website & Online Press
Sometimes, a company’s website and digital presence can tell you everything you need to know about a company. A little research goes a long way. You can get a feel for the culture of the business, how they operate, and what kind of people work there.
How is this company represented online? Thanks to Google, you can simply type in the company name and a whole heap of information will populate. Search for recent articles about their community involvement, how they’re represented in the press, and any outstanding accolades they’ve achieved. Within a few clicks, you can feel if it’s going to be a good match or not.
Personal Interview & Reference Checks
Face-to-face meetings can truly be the best way to see if you want to work with a company. Meet with them and ask them questions. After your meeting, check their references, talk to their employees and even their trade partners! See if you can get a consistent message across the entire company. Overall, you want to make sure you work with a company that is fair, on-time, reliable, respectful, and has integrity.
Still have more questions on the process of remodeling? Download our Remodeling Survival Guide to learn everything you need to know about your remodeling project.