Choosing a Remodeling Contractor
Choosing the right remodeling contractor to execute your dream kitchen is a bit like choosing a surgeon. You need someone who can do the job, but you also want to work well with them.
Whether it’s tightening door knobs or sanding down crown molding, you need to communicate clearly and thoroughly with your contractor. That means both parties should take careful notes and heed advice from experts.
A remodeling contractor who has been in business for years and who specializes in the type of work you need is more likely to have experience dealing with issues that can arise during a remodel. This can save you money and frustration in the long run. Additionally, full-service design-build remodelers typically have a team of specialists on staff to handle the various trades. This approach allows the design-build contractor to leverage the expertise of their entire team and see potential problems with your home before they become expensive, time-consuming, or impossible to fix.
Ask potential contractors for references and check out their websites to see examples of past projects. Also, be sure to find out if they are licensed and insured in your state and whether or not they belong to any professional organizations. Ask about their level of expertise in carpentry, plumbing, drywall, and other specialty areas of remodeling. Then, compare their estimates to make sure they are competitive.
In some states, contractors must have a license to perform remodeling projects. The requirements for these licenses vary on a state-by-state basis, but they generally include a background check, education, and work history. In addition, many states require a passing score on a licensing exam.
Contractors who do not have a license are ineligible to seek compensation for their work. These laws exist to protect project owners from contractors who may do substandard work or engage in illegal activities.
In New York, for example, all residential remodelers must obtain a Contractors and Remodelers’ License. In addition, they must have their fingerprints taken and undergo a background check.
There are also specialized licenses that remodelers can obtain to offer certain services. For example, California’s B-2 remodeling contractor license allows them to renovate an existing structure without changing load-bearing aspects of the building. It does not, however, allow them to change the electrical, plumbing, or other major systems.
A remodeling contractor’s reputation is important for more than getting referrals from other homeowners. Remodeling contractors also have a reputation with suppliers, subcontractors, and other professionals that they work with. If a remodeling contractor has a bad reputation, those relationships may be strained. To find out if a contractor has a good or bad reputation, search online for reviews and testimonials. Also, check their license status online.
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