Step Three: Finding a Remodeler
In our last post about completing a successful remodeling project, we discussed deciding on the process, specifically hiring a design-bid-build or a design-build firm. Whichever route you go, you need to choose your remodeler wisely. It’s said that people spend more time shopping for a car than a remodeler. Considering the cost, both financial and emotional, it’s imperative to invest time in this step.
Get bids from at least three remodelers, making sure they are as specific as possible and that you are comparing “apples to apples.” As discussed previously, some change orders are unforeseen and necessary; however, change orders can also be part of a deceptive bidding practice. Some remodelers intentionally keep their bids low by pricing with low-cost materials and fixtures, knowing that once construction begins, you will find them unacceptable and have little choice but to authorize and pay for upgrades. Ask about the estimating process to select a firm that will give you the most honest, accurate bid without a lot of after-the-fact upgrades.
Get referrals from friends who have remodeled, go to the internet, read local publications, and contact trade organizations (e.g., ORA, NARI, NKBA and the HBA). Visit trade shows and seminars, and definitely check with the state’s Construction Contractors Board. Finally, interview the designer and contractor in person, preferably at their office, and then check their credentials and the references they provide.