Deciding on the perfect plans and details of your remodeling project is the exciting part of any renovation. Searching, interviewing, and the selection process to find the best remodeling contractor for your project is much less fun. Whether you are remodeling your kitchen, updating your bathroom, or finishing out that bonus room … finding the best remodeling contractor will make the difference in your renovation project being successful or frustrating.
The best advice I can give anyone undertaking a construction or renovation project is to make sure you select the best contractor for the job. Here’s the top items that should be on your checklist when selecting a contractor.
- Use an experienced general contractor: If your project is a simple plumbing upgrade, electrical upgrade or installing a new heating and air unit, you may be tempted to hire an unlicensed person to save money. If your project involves building and one or more of the trades (electrician, plumber, framer, etc.), a general contractor is highly recommended. A General Contractor can coordinate all the trades needed on your remodeling project, help you decide between types or materials, order the materials, supervise work, and provide needed insurance protection. Since most general contractors have a measurable volume of work, they know the best sub-contractors to use and can save you money on materials purchased with local suppliers.
- Choose a licensed Professional: In the State of North Carolina all licensed General contractors are tested and must provide a financial disclosure to the state to be licensed. Once licensed the General Contractors number is listed on the NC General Contractors board website and can be checked by anyone with access to the internet. Being licensed also gives the consumer a layer of protection since the Contractors Board governs the action of all Licensed General Contractors and they investigate complaints lodge by consumers.
- Inquire about deposit amount: Once you have signed the contract you will most likely be required to pay a deposit. This will be a percentage of the cost of the total contract and can range from ten percent to fifty percent. The deposit should be used to get the contractor started and will pay for materials, labor, permits and other initial project cost. If you feel the deposit is too much, ask your contractor to explain what the deposit covers and how he arrived at the percentage.
- Contact references: You should ask for 3 references and contact them to inquire about their satisfaction with the quality, time, and ask about budget overruns, if any. You may also find it insightful to check with the Better Business Bureau regarding any history they may have on the contractors. Check the internet for information on the contractors you are considering. Review their website and social media presence. Reputable contractors are visible on the web and social media and you will likely find reviews for your potential contractors online.
- Ask for a contract: Having a contract tells you what to expect from the contractor and outlines what the contractor expects from you. The contract will outline the scope of work is, total cost, what type of contract it is, what are the payment requirements, how long will it take, and what kind of insurance is the contractor providing for this project. Once you have approved the contract you will be asked to sign it. Make sure that you and the contractor signs the contract and you receive a copy of it.
- Ask about permits: Finally, your project may require permits from the City or County in which you reside. Ask your contractor if he is pulling permits or if he is expecting you to do that. Most reputable contractors prefer to apply for permits themselves. Once constructing has started, expect to see a local inspector come by and inspect the project at various stages of construction. you can also check the on-site permit copy to see if the inspectors have signed off on the various inspections. If not, ask your contractor about this immediately.
Remember most General Contractors are very reputable people and will strive to complete your project in a very profession manner. Your due diligence in selecting a contractor and a clearly defined contract can avoid a lot of potential problems down the road.
Good luck on your project and of course, reach out to us if we can be of help to you.