Choosing the right contractor for your remodel or renovation project can make the difference between complete confidence in the timelines, installation work and material cost --- and long, sleepless nights worrying about what's going to happen next. Will everything be installed on time? Will the work be quality? What haven't I been told?
Just like setting a budget, choosing a contractor isn't exciting and it takes some legwork, sleuthing skills, and determination to find the right contractor for the job.
Ask for referrals
Utilizing your own family and friends for recommendations is a great place to start. If you want an honest opinion about a contractor that you're considering for your next project, you're going to get it if you ask an existing customer. Word-of-mouth is probably the best way to find a qualified professional and chances are you know someone who has had some work done on their home similar to what you have in mind for yours. There's a few simple questions that you can ask:
- With whom have they had good experiences?
- What made the business relationship a positive one?
- Was the contractor good about communicating changes to the timeline and responsive to their questions?
- Would they rehire the same contractor for additional work?
State regulations and requirements for credentials vary, so brush up on your local requirements. Professional associations like the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Home Builders are well regarded in the industry and members proudly display their affilations online and in their collateral. These designations are valued, so when you see one on a website, it's a good sign.
Conduct searches on the local chapter of your Better Business Bureau and seek out contractors and installation professionals that have invested in continuing education and certifications within their industry.
Interview Prospective Candidates
When it's time to meet with a prospective contractor, take note of how communicative and forthright the contractor is in answering your questions. This business thrives on communication between the contractor and their client, so establishing good conversation early on will make these interviews and discovery sessions fruitful. The contractor should be asking lots of questions of you, as well. It's impossible to truly scope out a potential project without really knowing what your expectations are, what materials you're considering, and your goals for having the work done.