January 23, 2019

How to Choose a Contractor

By Sarah Moon

Remodeling your bathroom is a big investment, so you want to hire a who contractor will do a good job. That’s why it’s important to do your research before you book a contractor.

Photo Credit: Silvia Brazzoduro

Talk with others who have used the contractor before and check the contractor’s references. A good way to unofficially vet a contractor is to see how far out a contractor is booked. If a contractor is backed up for a while, that’s usually a good sign.

Photo Credit: Crew

Go Online

Look up the contractor you’re interested in hiring online and read reviews from others who have used the contractor. You should also look up a prospective contractor on the Better Business Bureau’s Website to see if there are any customer complaints. The Better Business Bureau’s Website will also tell you if a business is accredited and how a business is rated with A+ being the highest and F is the lowest.

Treat it Like a Job Interview

Your contractor will be coming into your home to do work. Invite a contractor to come to your home for a cup of coffee, and take the time to ask a potential contractor questions. Check to see if a contractor has experience in the work you want completed. If a contractor can’t tell you how the remodeling work will be done, it’s probably not a good sign. Ask a contractor to see before and after photos of jobs he or she has completed.

Find out if he or she is licensed and bonded by the state and if he or she has his or her own employees or uses subcontractors. If a contractor uses subcontractors, ask about a lien waiver. A lien waiver is a document from a contractor saying suppliers and contractors were paid for their work. Make sure to ask a contractor about insurance to see if your house will be covered if anything goes wrong.

Communication is Key

Communication is where homeowners fall through the holes the most. It’s reasonable to get a two to three-day schedule from a contractor. Often times a home owner will decide he or she will want more work done or sometimes unexpected delays can happen. If your project is time sensitive, make sure to get install and project dates in writing, such as getting your bathroom up to code before closing on your house.

Watch Out for Red Flags

Most reputable contractors can be found online, but if you can’t find a contractor online, you might want to reconsider. Once you hire a contractor, set up a schedule of when payments are due. Beware of a contractor who asks you to make an abnormally large deposit or wants all of the money upfront. You should avoid paying a 50 percent deposit. A deposit that is 10 percent to a third of the cost is common. You should also beware of a contractor who has to call a manager to approve a price. As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Xpres Bath & Shower is a member of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, which is a nonprofit trade organization. Members of the association agree to conduct business with “honesty, integrity and responsibility” and agree to sign the Code of Ethics.

Getting a Good Deal

Don’t use price as a gauge for quality. Many times, the lowest or highest price won’t necessarily be the best job. You can also look at the Cost vs. Value Report to figure out what the average range is. You should also consider the amount of return you could potentially receive from your remodel.

Getting multiple estimates can be confusing, because contractors can have different ideas and use different products and vendors. If you’re going to get multiple estimates, make sure the scope is the same. Estimates are easier to get when there’s more than one type of specialty.

Photo Credit: Cytonn Photography

Before You Sign

Establish a budget before you decide on a contractor. You should spend more time talking a contractor who you’ve vetted out and who you think you can trust. How a contractor communicates and handles unexpected problems is more important than cost. If you’re looking for a contractor, contact Xpres Bath & Shower today.

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