It is a challenge to hire a bathroom remodeling contractor. A remodel is a big investment to your home so you want to hire a contractor you can work with and will do a good job at a fair price. Contractors and contracting companies vary greatly, and hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor starts with research.
Contractor research includes searching on the web and asking your friends and family for referrals. The Internet is a valuable resource for contractor research. A general internet search will provide many contractor websites to visit to get an idea of the contractor and company and how experienced they seem to be in bathroom remodeling work. You should also search on the contractor name to see if there are any customer reviews on web sites other than referral or company websites. You should keep in mind that no contractor is perfect. It may be that some complaints can be found for every contractor in your area. It is important to see if any complaints were resolved by contractor. You should also keep in mind that some complaints may not be valid or legitimate. After you have a short list of possible contractors, you should definitely visit your state department of professions and occupations to review the status of the contractor’s license and complaints against the contractor that might be recorded.
Contact by Phone
It is a good idea to call your potential contractors on the phone to set an appointment for a visit to your home. Calling the contractor will give you some idea of how responsive and understandable the contractor is by phone. Personalities do matter when hiring a contractor and being able to communicate over the phone is part of a successful bathroom remodel project. Do not dismiss clues where there may be a problem communicating with a potential contractor.
You should allow a couple of hours for the contractor’s initial visit to your home to look at your bathroom, take measurements and discuss the goals of the bathroom remodel. You should notice how aware the potential contractor seems to be concerning the details of your situation. Watch out for a long “I am great” commercial from this person. It is okay for the contractor to express confidence in their abilities, but long-winded self-promotion is a warning sign. Notice if this person offers constructive suggestions without overriding your ideas.
The first home visit is a great opportunity to ask your potential contractor about their experience and work methods. You should ask about trade work that is usually licensed such as plumbing and electrical work. Ask if the contractor normally applies for construction permits from your city or town. If load-bearing walls are an issue, discuss how it might impact the project. Ask how they handle problems such as mold or rotten wood.
Evaluate the Estimate and Contractor
Beware of one or two person operations that may not offer services such as design and planning. Very large contractors might have excessively high overhead resulting in higher estimates. The estimate you receive should include a written plan and itemized work items. A good estimate should include options and trade-offs between cost and benefit of selected features of the project. Are the materials and design compatible with the rest of your home, and would you expect the remodel to increase your home’s resale value? Is the estimate price reasonable, and are you comfortable with the payment schedule? Be careful of allowances for items such as vanities, tubs and fixtures. Allowances add complexity and might cause you to over-pay for the remodel.