remodeled kitchen

7 Signs of a Professional Remodeling Contractor

Remodeling your home is an exciting process. There are colors and materials to choose, updated designs to consider, and the knowledge that when the job is done, you’ll have made an investment in your home that you and your family will enjoy and that will add to its value. But choosing the right remodeler for the job can be a daunting process — since not many of us have remodeled a home before, it can be difficult to know what to look for and what you should expect when looking for a contractor. Fortunately, there are ways to tell that you’re hiring a professional who will get the job done right. Read on for seven signs of a reliable remodeling contractor:

  1. Your contractor should meet with you on site and ask thoughtful questions. A professional renovator will take a thorough look at the space you want to remodel and inspect walls, plumbing, wiring, and other components as closely as possible. He should ask questions to get a good understanding of what you want done in the space and what your budget is. A qualified contractor will let you know up front of any concerns he has and may also be able to suggest improvements that you hadn’t yet considered.
  2. A good contractor will provide you with a quote in writing. This quote should include the general timeline of the project, the materials and supplies required, and an estimated cost for the entire job. Read the contract carefully, ask as many questions as you need to, then make sure both you and the contractor have signed it and that he’s provided you with a copy.
  3. Along with his estimate, a reliable contractor will clearly communicate each phase of the process, so you’ll have an understanding of each step at the outset of the project.
  4. A professional contractor will be happy to provide you with references. These references should include names and contact information, as well as a portfolio of work. Be sure to ask his references if all communication was clear (including communication about any necessary changes to the project), how he addressed any challenges or issues that came up as the project progressed, if he showed up when he said he would and was on time, if the project stayed on schedule, and if the job site was kept neat and clean. Finally, ask if the work performed has stood the test of time, and if they’d hire the contractor again for other jobs.
  5. A qualified contractor will show you his contractor’s license and certificate of insurance. Most contractors are also members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and NAHB Remodelers. These documents and memberships will ensure that you’re dealing with a professional who is protecting both you and himself financially and legally.
  6. A good contractor will make sure that any necessary permitting is taken care of and that work is performed to code. Even though your contractor will take care of satisfying all government rules and regulations, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with what’s required for your renovation so you can be sure everything is in compliance.
  7. A trustworthy contractor will communicate immediately and clearly if anything isn’t going as planned. Remember, almost no remodeling project will go exactly according to strategy. Once your contractor begins opening up walls and ceilings, he may discover that the interior conditions of your home require more work or modifications. Weather can also affect work on your home. But no matter what challenges arise, your contractor should talk with you about these issues and provide, in writing, any changes in the scope of the project, including additional work, costs, and time that will be required. (You should also have limits on how flexible you are; if your contractor keeps “finding” things wrong and unreasonably adding to the scope of the project, you may want to get a second opinion before moving forward.)

Once you’ve found a contractor you can trust, you’re ready to begin! Keep in mind that remodeling will be a bit disruptive to your life; while a good contractor will keep the space as neat and tidy as possible, understand that you’re going to get a little more dust and dirt around your house, and that your normal routine will be disturbed. Just keep your eyes on the prize — by hiring a professional, you’ll save yourself added time, money, and headaches, and when the project is complete, you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful new space for years to come!