Remodel Cost Estimator
Estimate the cost of your home remodeling project & see how much value it will add
Hiring a contractor, and the right one, is challenging, but you can do it right if you are armed with the right information, logic, and reason.
When you hire a contractor, you should expect three things:
You also want to have trust with your pro. You want the contractor on your side, and you should be on his or her side by bringing them referral work. Begin with hiring a licensed contractor checklist.
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The answer to this will give you the most important fact — the contractor’s level of experience. Needless to say, the more experienced a professional is, the more adept he will be at his job. The question that follows can be, are you licensed? Are you insured? Are you bonded? All of these will again get you really important information. Although it is essential knowledge, it’s not enough. Use it as your baseline. Without these kinds of details, you proceed at your own risk.
This is their professional history and it speaks volumes. An established, credible history is a sign of doing business the right way, and means that you will have many previous clients to talk to about their experiences with the contractor.
Don’t accept lame disputes. Disputes happen and can be expected. You want to know how he or she handles controversy, so you know what you might face if you ever have a dispute with the contractor.
If he or she is comfortable with you talking to everyone, you’ve hit the jackpot. Straightaway, hire him or her. A confident professional who is proud of his work in the past is definitely worth keeping at close quarters.
This will tell you how you should work with the contractor, and you can decide whether or not that suits you. If the contractor prefers a hands-off client and you like to be in on all the details, conflict is more likely to arise. Buckle up for a bumpy ride if you end up hiring a contractor unsuited to your needs.
You want someone who can tell it like it is to homeowners, even if their Cadillac-sized egos can’t handle it. You will make mistakes (no matter how brilliant you are) and if you can’t deal with honesty, your contractor won’t be able to help when a need arises. Your contractor needs to feel comfortable being completely honest with you.
This is a really important question because you can learn how level-headed the contractor is if there’s a chance you’ll be working together. If the homeowner in the example given seems reasonable to you and the contractor did not handle the situation well, you know it’s time to move on. On the other hand, if the scenario and the way it was handled seem reasonable, then you know you have a logical professional to deal with, which is a huge advantage in the renovation process.
He or she will tell you “Yes, of course!” Don’t expect a different answer, but try to read his body language here. You also have a conversation on record that you can refer to when and if the price changes down the road, giving you leverage to negotiate. Bear in mind that prices change and the homeowner is often the one at fault, so don’t always try to blame the contractor.
Having said that, you as a homeowner should understand how renovation pricing works by breaking the cost of the material from the cost of labor. Then you’ll know whether the cost allocated to the materials reflects the type and quality of material you expect.
You can always use Kukun’s handy smart bid tool to extract the schedule and material list. If you have expensive taste, let the contractor know that you expect to buy expensive appliances so that it can be reflected in the pricing of material and labor.
Again, this is a conversation you need to have to see if there is any cushion, and as a reference point in case things change down the road. And please do your best not to be the cause of any delays.
Some contractors will give you a year and others will only give you three months. You clearly want the longest warranty possible. Things will almost certainly break after the house is done. A great contractor will worry about his or her reputation and will want you as a reference, which you should be very willing to become if the contractor built you the cocoon you wanted.
These 10 vital questions will not just help you in hiring a contractor who is best for your home remodeling, but will also clear all your doubts before you task him with such an important job. He will also realize that you have done your research well beforehand and will ensure that you get good work in return. After all, a quality and cost-effective renovation will reflect well on his resume too.
MORE: Use Our Real Time Home Remodeling Calculator and Find Out In Minutes How Much Your Home Renovation Project Will Cost