Are you looking to hire a contractor for an upcoming remodeling project but unsure where to start? We’ve got you covered! In our latest blog post, we’re sharing what you need to know before you hire a remodeling contractor and 7 helpful questions to ask during the interview process.
What to Know About Hiring a Contractor
1. A remodeling contractor provides a service.
As with most service-based businesses, the type of services offered can vary throughout the industry. Another thing to note is that the costs associated with remodeling can differ from contractor to contractor. On average, a third of the remodeling cost is attributed to materials, and the other two-thirds covers labor costs. While materials will be comparable across the board, labor costs are often determined by the contractor’s skill level and installation methods.
2. The contractor should meet the bare minimum required by law.
Your chosen contractor should be insured and lead-based paint certified. The contractor should always put licenses and permits in the contractor’s name, not the homeowner’s. Finally, each project should have a written contract in place, regardless of project size.
3. The contractor should be a professional.
While we’d love to believe every remodeling contractor is a qualified professional, that’s not always the case. Most contractors will have marketing materials like a website and business cards.
To find a contractor that rises above and beyond average contractors, ask to see past remodeling projects. Don’t be afraid to ask to see client testimonials or request references. Getting feedback from past clients regarding a contractor’s quality of work and service will go a long way when hiring a remodeling contractor.
Some elements that can set a contractor apart from the rest include:
- Participation in professional associations like NARI or BATC/Housing First
- 20 years of experience and vast knowledge about the type of project you desire
- Has won accreditation with their peers by receiving customer service or design awards
- A professional website with pictures, reviews, and videos
- Partners with or has an in-house design team that will work with you throughout the project
- Insured with an umbrella policy and workman’s compensation.
Questions to Ask a Remodeling Contractor
Now that you know what kind of qualifications to look for before you hire a remodeling contractor, here are seven questions to ask during the interview process.
1. Who will be my contact, and will the contact person change for each part of the project?
At J. Carsten Remodeling, Jason is your contact during each phase of the project. This ensures that nothing is lost in translation throughout the project. From design and planning to construction and warranty, everything stays organized and on track. While the project is underway, you will likely see Jason every day. You might get so used to having him around that you’ll miss him when the project ends — or at least your pets will!
2. How good are your estimates?
Setting a remodeling budget is a necessary process that takes a lot of consideration, and hiring a remodeling contractor who respects it is essential. That’s why estimates are significant.
A high-quality contractor will provide an estimate with realistic costs for the project. Ideally, the estimate will suit your budget while leaving a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses. Review each line item and ask for clarification if you have any questions. After all, the last thing you want is to be quoted one price only to have the number go up 20-30% once the project is completed.
3. How much do your customers deviate from your allowances?
Every contractor offers different allowances, so ask what allowances are included in the contractor’s estimate. How much customers deviate will vary depending on the type of allowances offered by the contractor. At J. Carsten, our typical overage due to changes made by the client is 2-5%.
4. Do you consistently use the same trade subcontractors or receive bids for the lowest price?
Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated, “the bitterness of poor workmanship remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” J. Carsten Remodeling only partners with highly qualified subcontractors. As one of our most trusted assets, we never make decisions based on price and consistently use the same subcontractors from job to job.
5. What is your experience?
Jason is a Master Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler (MCKBR) and a Universal Design Certification Professional (UDCP). He has received numerous accolades in design and customer service from those in the industry. His portfolio includes kitchens, bathrooms, additions, and new homes.
6. What kind of professional/industry experience do you have?
Jason is the past president of NARI-MN and served as the 2019 BATC Housing First Remodeler’s Committee Chair. Both associations are dedicated to education and professionalism, and all members must adhere to a code of ethics.
7. How will you protect my home while remodeling is underway?
Remodeling is a messy business. That said, great remodeling contractors protect your home from dust and debris. At J. Carsten Remodeling, we cover floors, walls, and other items of value before work begins and use Build Clean dust collectors to significantly reduce dust. We also ensure you can easily access other areas of your home that are not under construction.
If you need to hire a remodeling contractor, look no further than J. Carsten Remodeling! Our team would love to help you reimagine your home. Watch our video to learn about our process, or contact our team for more information.