How to Choose Good Bathroom Remodeling Contractors
Most people can handle changing the washer of a faucet or replacing a shower head on their own. However, if you are planning a major bathroom remodel, you probably need to call in a pro.
Professional bathroom remodeling contractors may charge a hefty chunk of change, but it is worth it if you get a good one. Attempting to do it yourself can result in costly repairs, so you may end up paying twice for the same job. The same applies if you get an incompetent remodeling contractor. Remember that the lowest quote is not always the best one. The most cost-effective way to do a bathroom remodel is to choose good bathroom remodeling contractors that will do it right the first time.
Here are some tips on how to do that
Know what you want
The first thing you need to do is to gather all your ideas for how you want your bathroom to look. Perhaps you saw a few you liked online or in a magazine. You may prefer a certain style. In any case, have photos of the style, color, theme, elements, and fixtures on hand before you start looking for a contractor. You will want them to get a quote from different contractors, and perhaps get a cohesive design from your collection of ideas. You can use these to see if your contractor gets your style.
Proof of the pudding
Finding a local contractor online is easy enough, and online reviews are a good place to start. Consumer protection agencies such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) give accreditation to legitimate businesses. Angie’s List is also a good site for finding good contractors, as well as professional association sites specific to building and contracting.
However, the best kind of testimonial is something you can actually see and touch, such as bathroom remodels undertaken by friends, family members, and neighbors. You can see for yourself if the contractor did the work professionally.
Ask for a referral for the bathrooms you liked, about his or her experience with the contractor, and whatever issues they had. Ask for details, so you can prepare yourself for what is to come when it is your turn to remodel.
Do the research
When you have several referrals on hand, do a bit of research on each one. Check out their website (if any) and contact them to get some general information. The most important thing is to make sure they are licensed, insured, and offer a Angie’s list site guarantee for the work before asking for a home visit. Most contractors will post these details on their sites. Fairfax Kitchen Bath, for example, is licensed in the states of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.
You may pay more for the work from licensed and insured contractors, but you have some measure of assurance that you are covered in case you run into problems. Show them your ideas and ask for an estimate.
Have a one-on-one
When you have narrowed down your list of potential contractors, ask for a meeting. Two or three candidates should be enough. More than that and you could end up with too many options and get consumer confusion.
Interview each one and observe how they answer questions. They should seem knowledgeable, open-minded, and frank without overwhelming you with information. People who talk too much often have something to hide. Short-list contractors who listen to your concerns before offering their advice based on your needs.
You should also pay attention to how you feel about each contractor. A personal connection is crucial for your relationship to work, so if you don’t like a contractor or feel uncomfortable in any way, move on to the next one on the list. You have to trust your contractor because they are going into your home for an extended period, and you have to work with them.
Connect with former clients
Once you have chosen a contractor based on your interview, ask for a list of previous clients and contact information. A good contractor should expect this request and be willing to give references to completed projects, as these are a good way to convince people to work with them. If the contractor seems reluctant to give references, you should consider this a red flag and move on to someone else.
Once you have a list of former customers, get in touch with them and ask about their experiences with the contractor. Ask detailed questions about the project execution, particularly if the contractor stayed on budget and completed the project on time and satisfactorily. Ask if they were happy with the outcome, and if there is anything they would have done differently given a chance.
Phrase your questions to find out the following:
• Communication – the contractor kept the client up-to-date on the progress and informed about any problems of the project without being asked
• Consistency – the contractor did not overpromise and delivered exactly or more than what was agreed upon
• Work ethic – the contractor knew what needed doing and required little or no prompting to complete the required tasks according to the schedule
• Professionalism – the contractor took the necessary steps to keep the work area neat and orderly, and to minimize disruption and damage to the home
Check the documents
Most contractors will provide you with documents for the project, including the proposed design, materials estimate, and service contract. Check
if the paperwork looks professional, and read the fine print of the contract. Make sure it includes a:
• Cost estimate and schedule of payments
• Scope of the work
• Site design and plan
• Schedule of construction tasks in sequence
• Clause on changes or revisions
• Clause on resolving disputes
• Process for close-out
• Waiver on lien, which prevents any interested third party such as suppliers and subcontractors from putting a lien on your property in case the contractor fails to pay them
A good bathroom remodeling contractor is the most cost-effective way to get your dream bathroom. Choosing one is not hard if you follow the steps above. Good luck!