When looking for a contractor you need to consider many things. Are they an established business in the local area? Are they qualified to do your type of project? Just because a contractor did a great job on your neighbor’s deck doesn’t necessarily mean that they can do the same great job on your kitchen or addition.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references and when you get them, follow up with a phone call to check them out. Why would you even consider hiring a contractor to work at your house until you’ve talked to someone that they’ve worked for and maybe even seen some of their work? Check to see if they are a member of any of the industry associations such as NARI or the HBA. Ask to talk to a couple of his suppliers or sub-contractors. You’ll want to know if your contractor pays his bills. Don’t wait until your project is underway to find out if he’s in any financial trouble. If he doesn’t pay his suppliers and subs you could end up paying for them twice. Wisconsin law allows a supplier or subcontractor to file a lien against your property if they haven’t been paid by your contractor for their products or services. This means that even if you’ve paid the remodeling contractor in full for your project you could be liable for payment to his suppliers and subs if he didn’t pay them. Check the contractor’s trade association to see if there are any complaints about his workmanship or business practices. Check to be sure that your contractor has adequate insurance and any necessary licenses that are required. There are several qualified remodeling companies in the Madison area. Unfortunately, there are too many unqualified, unreliable, and unethical contractors out there also. When you hire Jennings & Woldt Remodeling, you are dealing with an experienced and qualified professional.
Be Sure to Get Everything in Writing
A true professional contractor doesn’t do business without a formal contract or proposal. Be sure that you know your legal rights and responsibilities. Your contractor should know his legal rights and responsibilities also, if he doesn’t you don’t want him working for you. Don’t get pressured into signing anything, there is no legitimate offer that’s good today but not tomorrow. Take a few days to make your decision, if needed. Most likely you will have a few questions that you need answering before you decide.
Get Multiple Bids
Try to get one or two bids from similar contractors, any more than three and you will be wasting the contractor’s time, not to mention your own. Occasionally you might need to get a third bid if one seemed to be unqualified or if you just don’t feel comfortable with him. If you are just shopping for the lowest bidder, then tell that to every contractor that you call. The contractors that aren’t interested will tell you to call someone else – after all, why would he want to bid on a job that he knows he can’t get and why would you want to get bids that aren’t what you are looking for – however, the contractors that are interested will know exactly what you are looking for. Keep in mind that the lowest bid is seldom the best value and that you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to remodeling. Be sure that your bids are comparable. If one bid is much higher or lower than the other two, something is wrong. If the price of one estimate is lots higher than the others it is possible that the contractor didn’t want your job. Some contractors will overbid a job that they don’t want rather than say “this job isn’t right for us”. If one estimate is much lower you may be dealing with a “fly-by-night” or an inexperienced contractor that gave you an incomplete estimate. If he left something out you can expect that there will be extra charges throughout the job.
When you hire a contractor you should feel comfortable with the contact person. Is this person the same contact person throughout the project? If the salesperson is going to turn your job over to a project manager you will want to meet with him before you sign a contract. You should feel a relationship-building as your job progresses. If your project starts out with a bad experience it will be harder for you to trust your contractor. Remember that you hire a professional Remodeler for their complete services (design, advice, warranty, scheduling, etc.) not just for their carpentry skills.
Do Some Preliminary Research
When considering a remodeling project plan to go out to look at some products before you meet with the contractor. It will help the contractor understand what you are looking for and he’ll be able to give you a more accurate estimate.
Decide on a Budget for Your Project
The contractor needs to know what your budget is so he can include the appropriate products and amenities in his estimate. There is no point in having the contractor give you a proposal that includes things that you don’t want or simply can’t afford. Be sure that your contractor explains what your options are. Many times a customer doesn’t realize that they have choices when selecting products. This could be different colors, sizes, brand names, etc.
Make a point of inspecting your remodeling job site every evening and discuss any concerns that you may have with your contractor immediately. Don’t wait until your job is completed to express your concerns, by then it’s too late. Remember you are the boss, the contractor works for you.
Remember & Refer!
When you find a contractor that you are happy with, keep their name and phone number handy, you’ll want to use them again and refer them to friends and family. The first contractor that you call for any type of remodeling work should be the one that you have had positive experiences with in the past. Don’t assume that they aren’t interested in a certain job or that they don’t do that type of work, let them tell you yes or no. Chances are they can handle any type of work you are planning or they can refer you to someone they trust.
Contact Jennings & Woldt Remodeling today for an estimate on your next project!