By: Bidmyreno Admin | Feb 16, 2016
So you’ve made the decision to renovate your home. Now it’s time to find the right people to make it happen. The first step is to identify what is most important to you with respect to the project. Are you looking mostly for affordability? Functionality? The overall look? High quality craftsmanship? Meeting a specific deadline? Someone to take complete control? Recognizing ahead of time what is most important to you can help you define the scope of your project and also help the contractor determine if he/she can deliver your wish list. Ask yourself, “how involved do I want to be in the details of the project?”. Do you need to be hands-on and willing to manage the various trades? Or would you like someone to oversee the entire project for you? Is your project a smaller job that a “jack of all trades” could handle? or will it require more than one trade? If so, are you willing to manage two or three trade professionals yourself? Or is your project large enough that you need a project manager to oversee it from start to finish? Once you decide what you want your role to be, you are equipped and ready to put your plan in motion.
Word of mouth has always been one way of finding good contractors, but thanks to the Internet, we have even greater access to a slew of reputable local renovation companies. For example, bidmyreno.com is an online service that connects you directly with contractors who will bid on your project. So it is a perfect place to start.
We spoke to one of bidmyreno.com’s premium members, Archwood Construction, to ask what preparations a project owner should make before posting a project. “Often times, there is not enough information to provide an accurate quote, so online bidders will most often give a ballpark estimate,” says Lynn Decarie of Archwood Construction. “Project owners should provide as much detail as possible - list the kinds of materials they want used – state if it is a high-end job requiring a highly skilled craftsman or trade, or a project where affordability and function are most important. “
“Details like room measurements and uploaded floor plans really provide good information about the job and this is important to any contractor who is preparing a quote. ” said Decarie. “For example, don’t post that you want your 10x10 kitchen redone – explain that you need new cupboards (will you buy them or do you want the contractor to organize it?), backsplash, counters, faucets – include as much details as possible of the work you need done”. “Know what you want – or if you are looking for input from an expert, make sure you specifically highlight that detail. This way, we can provide the most accurate price and the quotes won’t be all over the map” says Decarie.
You’ve received numerous bids on your project. Warning! …don’t automatically choose the contractor who gives the lowest estimate! Recall what is most important to you. “Even if the lowest price is the most important factor for you, a bid could be unrealistically low,” said Lynn Decarie of Archwood Construction. “The contractor may not have understood the project, or he/she may be underestimating what it will take to complete the work. Or the contractor could simply be trying to get a price advantage over the competitors. In any case, don’t assume the lowest price is the best price as you will likely incur unexpected and additional costs, or end up with a job that leaves you unsatisfied.” Look for a fair price and delve into the details. Factor in any differences in what the contractors are offering and the skills they bring to the job. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Some contractors will quote low based on a cash-only job – beware of this – while it may appear to be a good deal, you need to ensure contractors have insurance, warranties and the right references to do the job correctly. Often, you get what you pay for!
Now browse the intangibles: reputation, willingness to make suggestions and offer advice, the likelihood of standing behind the work. Choose the contractors you feel will give you the most of what is important to you. It’s this part of the process where it is important for contractors to have websites. Company websites and profiles on websites such as bidmyreno.com are a perfect place for contractors to put their best foot forward and promote themselves, list their credentials, show their work and prove they are accountable for the level and quality of service they provide. Also, customer reviews can be included and are very important resource for those shopping around. Do you feel comfortable with this person being in your house with your family? Do they have references they can give you? This is incredibly important because often times a renovation project can take months – and you need to be comfortable with the crew that is providing the service and in your home.
Don’t hire a contractor without meeting them first. Interview them and invite them in to ensure their quote is accurate. Bring in a few bidders to compare. The contractors you decide to meet with should have references from at least three previous clients who have had similar work done. If the previous clients are willing, visit them to see the finished job. “Their willingness itself is usually a sign that they were satisfied - the best proof of quality is a satisfied customer,” said Decarie of Archwood Construction. You should also check with your local Better Business Bureau to ensure there have been no complaints about this contractor.
Don’t deal with a contractor who doesn’t have an address, doesn’t want a written contract and offers a discount if you pay cash. This type of “deal” involves many risks and pitfalls that will offset any savings. “For example,” said Decarie of Archwood, “Contractors who insist on cash may be unlicensed and uninsured; and without a written contract your cash advances are unprotected. They could neglect to get the required permits or inspections.” For your own protection and peace of mind, it’s best to deal in a legal and responsible way — always get it in writing.
I recently went through this checklist myself. I decided I didn’t have time to oversee and keep track of every detail of my renovation job. I wanted to hire someone I had trust in to handle all aspects of the job including schedule, trades, materials and budget. I was looking for a reputable company that was a “one-stop-shop” yet had a track record of high quality workmanship and service. I posted my renovation on bidmyreno.com and received numerous bids. I reviewed each bid and researched each company. I chose the company that impressed me with their focus on quality workmanship and service. But additionally important to me was trust and like-ability, so meeting the prospect contractors in person was the real deciding factor. Go with your gut!
bidmyreno.com is a free on-line listing service for home and business owners looking for quality contractors at a competitive price.