After almost 30 years in the business here in Boerne, Texas, we’ve learned a thing or two. We’ve taken note of so many things that clients SHOULD do before, during and after a remodel. Of course, we’ve also taken note of things that our clients should NOT do. While this may not be a comprehensive list, here are a few of, what we feel, are the most important to note.
Do Ask about licensing and insurance. We feel that this might be one of the most important things customers should look for, and if not the most important, at least high up on the list. Contractors who have acquired a license in the various aspects of construction have proven their knowledge in these skills. This means that homeowners can expect quality work. Be sure to hire someone who has these. It is also ok to ask to ask to see a copy.
Don’t begin without some research. The industry is in a constant state of flux right now. Materials are in short supply and prices are changing rapidly, as a result. You may not know all of the building materials that would be needed for your job but you can take some quick measurements. Then make a trip to a few building supply stores to get a rough estimate of what to expect. With this in mind, the estimates you’ll receive will be close to what you’ve already accounted for.
Do expect to encounter a change of ideas/plans part of the way through as you see the work unfolding; extension on a timeline (within reason, of course); and unforeseen issues to arise. Situations like these are more likely, than not. You might find that the flooring you chose has suddenly become unavailable from the manufacturer, or you simply don’t like it. This will undoubtedly cause a delay (and if you’re making a change after the contract has been accepted, expect a change order fee too). As much as contractors would love for it not to happen, issues arise on almost every job. Many times, mold is discovered behind the walls during a bathroom remodel; or floorboards have rotted out while changing the flooring material. We’ve even come across a hornet’s nest within the walls that had to be eradicated before work could commence. So, if you’re mentally prepared for these things to happen, then you might get to be pleasantly surprised if they do NOT happen on your project.
Don’t hire based on price alone. As with almost anything in life, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is also true in construction and home remodeling. Sure, there are definitely times when there might be a reason the contractor is offering you a deal that sounds too good to be true. Most often though, that really is the case. So, do some homework on the contractors you meet with. Get at least 3 estimates and then ask for references and photos of their work. Anyone worth their mettle will happily hand these over, because their integrity and quality of their work will shine through.
Do make a budget/wish list prior to meeting with contractors. Home remodeling is up over 5% and expecting to continue its growth this year. Contractor’s schedules are booked out for months. If you schedule an estimate and don’t have a plan for the space prior to the meeting, many contractors will walk away from the job and move onto one that is more prepared for. Having a budget also allows you to feel more confident to make decisions on the fly if issues arise and your plans have to be altered. It also allows you to have a better idea of what you’re willing to let go of to stay within the budget.
Don’t pay for the entire project, up front. It is a common business practice to ask for a certain percentage down, or earnest money. This is due, in part, to protect the contractor’s business. If he/she is expecting to have their crews busy on a job, they’ll turn down other work. If that job falls through, then potential business is lost. So, a down payment shows the contractor that you legitimately mean to work with him or her. That being said, no contractor should ask for the entire cost of the project up front. If that is asked of you, it should send up red flags and you should begin looking for a new contractor.
Finally, Do spread the word of a great experience and satisfaction to your friends and family. Most of this business centers around word of mouth and referrals are a Boerne, Texas contractor’s bread and butter. Aside from that, most people would rather hire someone who has been recommended by something they personally know.