The right remodeling contractor working on your renovation can be the difference between an adequate project or a great result which you will appreciate for years.
When choosing a remodeling contractor to head up your project, starting the process with a few basic steps can make a huge difference and give you peace of mind throughout the entire process. Consider the following –
A successful remodeling contractor will tell you their largest source of new business is word-of-mouth. Ask family, friends and neighbors about with whom they’ve had good experiences. Find out what made the experience positive. Ask how the contractor handled problems. Ask if they would use the contractor again. These questions will give you great insight.
Be prepared to ask the remodeling contractors you are considering very specific questions about their credentials.
- Check their website – learn about their specialties.
- Be sure the contractor holds the required licenses from state and local municipalities.
- Note professional associations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).
- Ask about any additional course work or training in which the contractor has invested time and money.
Interview The Chosen Few
As you learn about your remodeling contractors, select the top three to begin the selection process. Try to compare apples with apples looking at their qualities and abilities. Note how they answer your questions in terms of details AND what questions they ask you. How “into” your project are they?
When hiring a remodeling contractor, you are buying a service and not a product. Quality of service will determine the quality of the finished project. This means the character of the contractor is an important factor in your decision.
Remodeling Contractor Qualities
Consider the items and questions below to help learn as much about the remodeling contractor as you can.
- Do they maintain a permanent mailing address, e-mail address, primary phone number, fax number, cell phone and voicemail?
- Do they carry insurance protecting you from liability issues? (They should have a copy of their insurance certificates for you)
- Do they have an established presence in the community? (Time in business under current name)
- Do they possess a trustworthy reputation among customers and peers? (Does the remodeling contractor maintain solid relationships with subcontractors including plumbers, electricians, etc. – ongoing positive relationships imply good character)
- Have they achieved professional designations such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), Certified Bath Designer (CBD), etc.?
- When you choose your remodeling contractor, each contract should include following information – contractor information including name, address, telephone numbers, license number.
- A list of what the remodeling contractor will and will not do—for example, the tasks you might choose to do, such as painting or demolition.
- All materials, sizes, colors, specifications.
- A dated copy of all drawings and diagrams. If changes need to be made during the project, they should be made to these documents and initialed and dated by both you and the contractor.
- Start and finish dates.
- The times work will start and finish and the days of the week that workers will be at your home.
- How change orders will be handled.
- A warranty for one year.
- A binding arbitration clause.
- A statement of how the contract can be canceled.
- A statement that the remodeling contractor will provide affidavits of final release, final payment, or final lien waivers from all subcontractors and suppliers.
Avoiding Remodeling Contractor Scams In Madison WI
Selecting the best, most reliable remodeling contractor can save you thousands of dollars on the front end – and thousands more after the project is complete. Avoiding scams and remodeling contractors who just “don’t fit” is important. Watch out for:
- The low-ball artist who may or may not be in business in a year for service or warranty work.
- At the opposite end there are remodeling contractors with huge overhead that you pay for with premium pricing no matter what the quality.
- You are not satisfied with the answers you’re getting.
- The contractor does not listen well.
- The contractor is difficult to contact.
- There are no previous projects to review – presentation book, website, etc.
- Gimmicks? No “fine print”.
Avoid A Remodeling Contractor When
- It is difficult or impossible to confirm the name, address, telephone number or credentials of the contractor.
- It is difficult or impossible to verify license or insurance information.
- They pressure you to sign a contract.
- They need an appointment of two hours – or more.
- There is a temporary “special, low rate” for advertising or any other premise.
- “Signing a contract today” will secure a special price.
- The contractor has no references.
- You receive out-of-date information.
- Total payment is required in advance.
- A salesperson asks to be paid in cash.
- The company has no website or other contact reference.
- The contractor asks you to pull permits.
For assistance in getting your project planned correctly, contact Westring Construction, located in Madison WI. We are a remodeling contractor expert at home additions and renovation projects of all sizes. We also excel at historic restorations, serving all of Dane County and surrounding areas including Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg, McFarland, Cottage Grove and Stoughton.
Call us at 608-441-5435 or email us if you would like us to review your project and be your Madison WI based remodeling contractor.