Entering into reno’s is no easy task is it? There are so many choices out there, unknown costs, and fears, over choosing the right contractor. My heart breaks to see homeowners go through the pain of a bad reno experience. This is your home after all and every penny counts. It helps to make an informed decision on who to hire.
After chatting with a couple of friends about their latest renovations with other contractors, it seems their experience has not been quite so great. From not finishing the job properly, to surprise bills at the end, good contractors can be hard to find.
Good trades are like gold and having a good contractor with connections to good trades is everything. The unexpected may happen along the way but what matters is that someone will complete the promised job properly. Good contractors are out there, but it can be difficult to weed out the great ones from the um, not so good? Being contractors ourselves, here are a few simple answers that may help ease your concerns.
Here are some simple steps to finding the right contractor for your renovations
- Make a realistic budget
- Decide on your necessities and your wish list
- Ask around for the right local contractor. Word of mouth can be one of the most reliable sources in this industry. Don’t always go with the cheapest or most available.
- Figure out your vision for your new space. A few pictures via magazines or social media can help communicate what your vision is for your new space.
- Meet with your top 2 or 3 recommended contractors. A conversation with a contractor may help you decide which one you feel you can work with, and if their pricing, availability, and vision lines up with yours.
- Decide on your contractor.
- Decide on a clear plan based on your budget for your renovations with your contractor
- Sign an agreement to the expectations for the job, with the agreed budget if your doing a cost plus job.
- If its a contract job; sign a contract based on the agreed upon price that includes the work, expectations, and finishes that are going into your home so everyone is clear of what is included in that price.
- Be sure to set aside an extra budgeted amount for unforeseen costs or extras as you go. There is nothing worse than to run into unexpected costs you are not prepared.
Things to keep in mind as you proceed with your renovations
Some contractors charge with a cost plus agreement; This means they charge you at their cost, plus a percentage to pay them for their time to oversee the project. Their job is no simple task. They are arranging their trades they trust (if you have ever contracted your own project, you know just how valuable this is), make sure everything is lined up perfectly, while dealing with any issues as they arise. There are contractors who will even pass on some of their contractor discount to you (which is a huge bonus because as a homeowner you would be charged full retail costs), which means that most of their contractor fee would be covered at no extra cost when you take these discounts into account.
Some contractors charge at a contract price; This may result in a slightly inflated cost to you, as they have to cover the unknown costs that may arise during the project. You may feel better to have a contract price to know where you stand with your final numbers but know this may be costing you a few more dollars (Or it may be protecting you. This is the gamble.). In this case, definitely request a clear sheet with all of your specs including spending allowances, finishes, and the work included for the price.
None of these pricing options are wrong. It just depends on the contractor you are working with, the project ahead, and what seems to fit you best. Pricing a project takes time. A lot of time. Each project is never the same, so pricing will vary form one project to the other. Many contractors wont give a full quote unless they are working under a contract price.
Trades also don’t enjoy pricing out things a whole bunch of ways, so its important to make a decision and stick with it. I understand it may be difficult when your not sure what fits with your budget, so do ask questions. They will be able to give you a rough idea on the costs involved even if its not a full quote on each item. It will cost you less knowing ahead of time what you are looking for and not changing your mind too many times.
All of the decisions can become overwhelming, so hiring a designer may help keep you focused with your vision as you go. The clearer you are with knowing your needs and budget, the easier everything will flow with your project. Preplan everything as much as possible with your contractor. The contractor is there to give you direction so go ahead, and feel free to ask questions as you go to make the best informed decisions.
No project is ever easy but it is so worth it to live in a home that functions well for your everyday living. Enjoy the process as much as possible. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for last min changes. This list is no guarantee that your project will turn out perfect, but hopefully it will help you find the right contractor that works for you. What was your renovation experience? Sign up below for more home updates!