Even passionate DIY enthusiasts are hesitant to tackle a bathroom remodeling project. With major work involved in both the demolition and installation of bathroom fixtures, this job takes a lot of time, tools and top notch experience. Most homeowners head to the web or phone book to look for local contractors, but without knowing the right questions to ask, these people could be headed for a nightmare. Learn how to hire a bathroom remodeling contractor you can trust and look forward to a smooth renovation.
Consider the Scope of Your Job
It helps to begin with a basic idea of what you want. Some contracting companies have a minimum charge, meaning they will not bill out less than a certain amount no matter how large your job is. If you know the scope of your project before you call they can let you know whether or not the job falls within their typical limitations.
It's also a good idea to organize any applicable paperwork before calling the contractors. Maybe you have a collection of images snipped from home renovation magazines or sketches of your dream bathroom. Any information on financing and budget will need to be close by when you call the contractors. And your schedule - both for booking the quotation appointments and the project - will play a big part in this job.
Should You Iron Out the Plan Before Calling a Contractor or Wait for Their Advice?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your preference. In actual fact you are likely to change even the most detailed plan once you have spoken to a contractor. Their expertise and knowledge often helps to uncover potential problems, issues and their solutions.
That being said, this process will go much faster if you have a good idea of what you want. Sketches and drawings help to communicate the concepts visually and you should also be prepared to describe what you want and need out of the space. For example, are you looking for a romantic master suite or a functional family bathroom? The function and atmosphere of the room will play major roles in the design.
Just as you would for every sizeable home improvement project, it is best to contact three or four bathroom remodeling contractors to obtain a quotation. Gather a longer list of names, starting with companies recommended by friends, family members and neighbors. Take a look online for contractor directories that will match your needs with the skills and expertise available in your area.
Business and construction associations are another good place to gather names. Ask about the amount of time the members have been in business and inquire about any rating systems the association may have. The Better Business Bureau is an excellent place to screen companies on your list, comparing their ratings and history with others in the area.
Have a list of questions on hand for that first phone call, which will help you to book appointments with only those contractors best suited for your project.
The questions should include:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Do the workers hold all applicable plumber's licenses and are there licensed electricians on staff to handle that end of the remodel? If not, which company will the contractor be hiring as a subcontractor?
- Is the contractor covered by worker's compensation and liability insurance?
- Will the company handle permit applications and be present at any applicable inspections?
- Which suppliers does the firm work with and are they willing to purchase/install plumbing fixtures from other manufacturers?
- What is the scheduling like for a job of your size? When can they get started and how long will it take?
- What is the warranty coverage offered on both materials and labor?
You may feel more comfortable asking these questions during the subsequent appointment, but asking them ahead of time will avoid wasted time for both you and the contractors. If you call a company that hires various, unknown subcontractors and cannot complete the job in the time frame desired, there is no reason to have them quote at all.
Comparing the Prices Fairly
The three or four estimates you do receive may vary in amount, details and delivery. Some contractors will be able to leave you with a quote on the day they visit. Others will require a few days or even a week to prepare a detailed estimate. Be patient and give all of the companies a chance to get back to you with their best quotation.
When comparing the prices remember that not all companies bid in the same manner. You may receive quotations that cover both time and materials, leaving nothing to chance. Others may have a detailed list of the items required, but only offer an hourly price for labor with a rough estimate as to the time the project will take. These quotes are more ambiguous and can leave you with a much smaller - or much larger - bill than expected.
Think about two factors when comparing the bids - your budget and a fair price. Working within your budgeted amount is essential. And you will need to be prepared to delay parts of the project if that budget will not allow the investment right now.
That being said, it is just as important to decide on a fair price for your bathroom remodel. If one company is coming in with a much lower bid than the others you may be tempted to book it. But is their quotation in line with the others in terms of time, materials and quality? Avoid bids that are far below and far above a fair price mark.
Once you have a few bids that are in line with your budget and offer the quality and service you want, it is time to check the contractor's references. Don't leave out this important step and be as thorough as you can when contacting the company's previous customers.
Ask them whether they are satisfied with the level of work, quality of materials and handling of any service work. Discuss the timing of installation and find out whether you can view the work yourself.
By following these steps carefully and patiently you have a much better chance of hiring a contractor you can trust for your bathroom remodeling project. Decide what you want from the renovation, gather a long list of potential contractors and use general questions to narrow that down to three or four names. Compare the prices with your budget in mind and check the references of your top picks. Then get ready to work closely with this contractor to design and construct your dream bathroom.Posted by: diana