Are you planning a major remodel? Congrats! Updating your bathroom (or any other room) can help transform your home into the one you’ve always wanted, while also increasing the value.
Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, a remodel can also turn into a major headache. This is especially true if you hire the wrong bathroom remodeling contractor. Asking these nine questions can help you select the right professional for the job:
1. Are You Licensed?
Not all states have a remodeling contractor licensing system. Luckily, we do here in Washington. While simply being licensed isn’t enough to determine if the contractor is right for your bathroom update, it is a great way to separate the less-than-trustworthy from the rule-abiding remodeling contractors.
You certainly want to make sure your home updates are up to code. This is essential to not only protecting the integrity of your home, but also helping you avoid fines and improve your resale value.
2. Do You Have Insurance?
Insurance is crucial. You won’t want to work with anyone who isn’t insured. Even if the contractor has a perfect track record up until your remodel, they are human. Mistakes happen. Insurance gives you a layer of protection in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong.
And, don’t just accept that they are insured because they say so. Make sure you request proof of both comprehensive business liability insurance and workman’s comp.
3. How Long Have You Been in Business (or the Industry)?
Everyone has to start somewhere. But as we’re all well aware, the more experience we have, the better our work tends to be. Ideally, you want to hire a contractor who has some experience under their belt. Generally, this means they’ve been in business for a few years and maintained a good reputation.
That being said, there are some new contractors who have a lot of skill. And, you’ll often get a better rate as they’re establishing themselves. It may be worth considering not just how long they’ve been in business for themselves, but how long they’ve been in the industry and where they’ve worked in the past.
4. What will the Time Frame for My Project Be?
No project can come with an absolute guarantee. As construction begins, there are countless unknowns. That being said, you don’t want to hire a contractor who doesn’t have any hope of completing your job within a timeframe that works for you.
5. Do You Use Subcontractors
A full-scale remodel requires a lot of different expertise and your contractor probably isn’t an expert in all areas. This is why your contractor will hire other people. Sometimes these are employees, which is often the best-case scenario, as the contractor has more control over the quality of work being done. However, subcontractors aren’t necessarily a bad thing – especially if the contractor has a longstanding relationship with his team.
6. How Many Similar Projects Have Completed in the Last 12 Months?
You want to make sure the contractor can accomplish the task he or she is setting out to do. If a contractor has done several similar projects well, this demonstrates their ability to be effective.
7. Do You Have References?
It’s always a good idea to ask for a list of references. This allows you to speak directly with the contractors former client and get the lay of the land. Ask them what their experience was like, if there were any surprises or any things they’d do differently if they could.
8. Can I See Past Examples of Your Work?
In addition to speaking with references, it can be helpful to go see some of the contractor’s finished projects. What’s your gut reaction? Consider whether you’re pleased or not.
9. Can You Give Me an Example of a Surprise or Hiccup and How You Handled It?
If you find a remodeling contractor who’s never experienced any issues during a project, you’ve found a unicorn. Hiccups happen. Unforeseen issues water damage, plumbing and/or wiring issues can be discovered during demolition. Fixtures and parts can be back ordered or delayed due to weather. You may choose to change the plans mid-remodel. Any of these issues can push back your timeline and force your remodeling contractor to come up with creative solutions.
Ask them to share examples of things that have gone wrong and how they’ve responded. One of the keys to look for is, was the contractor transparent with the client? Communication is key when it comes to such a major endeavor. Transparency allows you to build trust.