Remodeling your Cincinnati home is certainly a big financial as well as emotional investment but is also a rewarding experience. Choosing the right contractor is the most critical component to the success of your remodeling project.
The Cincinnati contractor you pick can be the difference between a job well done and an utter nightmare! There are plenty of stories of poorly done projects that cost the homeowner a fortune. Just watch the not so good movie Are We Done Yet (though still better than Thor III and The Force Awakens but this is another topic) and you will know all about that! So, how do you find the right service provider to wrap up the job for you?
There is no dearth of remodeling companies in Greater Cincinnati that advertise their experience and professionalism. However, it is important that you take time to research your options before you finalize a contract.
Ask friends and family for references and look up the names on sites such as Yelp and BBB. You may also ask the contractor you shortlist a bunch of questions to ascertain his expertise and experience.
Listed below are 7 questions you must ask a remodeler before signing a contract:
1. How long has the remodeling company been in business?
A company with years of experience would be better positioned to complete a home remodeling task with fewer issues or any major ones at all.
A stellar remodeler will not just have state of the art tools and experienced staff, but also the right processes in place to ensure the work is completed in a timely manner, is well within the estimated budget, and that it is professionally carried out yielding best results. If Napoleon Dynamite is managing this business, run away!
Most often home improvement business owners have been in the trade for years before actually starting out their business. Feel free to ask your home remodeler to give you a glimpse about his work experience, the projects he has handled, examples and photos of completed projects, and also about any challenges he might have faced along the way (if you have the time for this).
Be sure to check if he has faced any legal disputes in previous projects. It is also wise to ask him for business references. Find out if the company is licensed and if they have the necessary permits to carry out remodeling projects in your neighborhood.
2. Who is the on-site project manager? Will the project be undertaken by employees or sub-contractors?
Once your home remodeling work starts, there will be a host of strangers on your property spending hours within the vicinity of your family, home, car/s, and so on.
You have every right to know whether your home remodeling company assigns their own professionals or subcontracts the work.
Do not hesitate to ask the manager assigned to your home (or the owner of the business) to give you a list of the employees who will be working on your premises – though this could be considered extreme and there could be privacy issues with this request. A few questions that you may ask include: Who is the on-site project manager? What will his or her responsibilities be? Are the same people going to be working each day or will there be a change from day to day?
Are the employees qualified and are the sub-contractors reliable? How often will the remodeling company owner take updates from the team and check on progress? These are some things you may want to discuss before signing the contract.
3. Does the home remodeling company have worker’s compensation and liability insurance?
This is one of the most important points to discuss with your remodeling contractor before you cut a deal. The last thing you want is a worker getting injured on the job and being held responsible for his medical bills.
Ask your contractor if every worker who sets foot on your property is insured for worker’s compensation and covered for liability insurance. Request to see the certificates of insurance so you can be sure that the workers are actually insured for the exact specific task they are to carry out and not for some other service. Again, this could be overkill and could spoil the relationship you have with the contractor.
4. Will the project be completed within agreed timelines?
Get a very clear picture of when the work will begin and how long it will take to complete. The total budget could be affected if the project is delayed. Ask for a realistic estimate of the completion of the project. Also, find out if the contractor is working on multiple projects and how that will affect your home remodeling.
Ask him if there are any estimates or quotes that are not yet locked down and how they could affect your budget. If there are any delays in procuring materials from third parties, how would this affect the overall hours and in turn the final payment? Also, discuss what would happen if they fail to complete the task within the estimated deadline.
Most companies promise to carry out the work within a stipulated timeline and do not bill you for any excess hours that may have to be put in, due to delays in the procurement of raw material or lack of labor.
5. How will your property be protected?
This is yet another important factor to be discussed before the work begins and not midway when you realize that there your entire home is covered in dust and grime! A salient remodeling service provider will take necessary measures to protect your valuable items, floors, and walls from getting soiled or damaged. Discuss with your contractor the best way to go about this.
Would he provide assistance in moving things out of the way and keeping them in a safe place, covering surfaces that need protection and so on? Make arrangements to clear the working area way beforehand and reduce the risk of unwanted damage.
6. What kind of documentation is involved – both before and after the work is done?
Contracts and paperwork are a crucial part of any home remodeling project. The paperwork will include inspection reports, lien releases, reports on plumbing and utilities, and so on. User manuals of installed equipment, warranty papers on hardware, electrical, or other equipment installed, information on how to care for things, including fixtures, tiles, countertops, etc.
You would also need a list of workers, sub-contractors, and contact information. Ask the remodeler for a list of all the documents you will receive before and after the work is completed and have it listed in your contract.
7. What are the payment terms and provisions?
Different companies have different payment models. In most cases a part payment is made before the job begins and the rest of the payment is cleared once the remodeling has been completed and signed off.
Ask your Cincinnati contractor for clear terms of payment and what happens if there is a change or alteration in the plan. Your construction contract must have provision to handle changes in the scope of work and pricing. Unexpected expenses might arise, so it is wise to discuss these possibilities beforehand to clear any ambiguities.
Cincinnati home remodeling can be an exciting venture and overwhelming too, if you haven’t hired a company capable of handling your requirements in a professional manner. So, do your homework, and don’t hesitate to discuss the above matters at length with your contractor and only then finalize and sign the paperwork.