How To Hire A Remodeling Contractor in Madison, WI

Tips on Hiring A Remodeling Contractor in Madison, Wis.

If you're planning a home renovation project, one of the most important choices you'll make is your remodeling contractor. Picking the right contractor can be the difference between a job done right, and a complete nightmare.

Even with the best contractor, a renovation project can be stressful, expensive and involve unplanned and unpleasant surprises when you open up walls and floors like outdated wiring, or rotted subfloors. A good contractor will have contingencies in place, and explain the possible issues that may arise during the project.

If you're planning a big project, you might want to consider working with a full-service design-build-remodeling firm. They will have a network of subcontractors and the staff on hand to work with you from planning and design all the way through completion.

Choosing a contractor isn't just about price. You need to find a team that understands your vision and lifestyle and is a knowledgeable advocate for your project. Hiring a contractor is like hiring a new employee.

You want to vet the candidate to make sure that they're a good fit. Speak with several candidates and when you narrow down the choices, examine portfolios of previous work, check licensing and insurance, speak to previous clients and get several bids before you make a final choice. You should also ask about the process they use when remodeling a home.

Choosing the Right Remodeling Contractor

When vetting candidates, there are some important characteristics to look for as well as some red flags to avoid. Here are some tips to help you choose the best remodeling contractor for your project.

• Get Recommendations

The first step in choosing the right remodeling contractor is to create a list of candidates who have the right experience and then narrowing it down. Choose the top three or four candidates and set up meetings to vet them and gather information. Ask friends who are homeowners for recommendations and about their experience, search online and read reviews or use social media to create your list.

• Connect With Them

You should have a good rapport with your contractor. The right person for the job will understand your creative vision, aesthetics, and goals. They will also have the experience in the type of remodeling project your planning. Communication is the key to a successful project. Make sure whomever you choose is accessible and insist on regular contact whether it's by email, phone, text or in person. Stay out of the way of the crew, let them do their job, but schedule a weekly face-to-face progress meeting with the project manager of foreman.

• Remember, Price Reflects Quality

While price shouldn't be the determining factor when hiring, it's an important element of any project. Ask how long your project will take, and understand exactly what is covered in their proposal. Check prices for job changes, any additional costs for time and get a written description of the materials they'll use. A low bid may indicate that a contractor uses sub-par materials. The more accurate bid is usually somewhere in the middle.

• Check Their Credentials

Does your contractor belong to any trade organizations? This can mean that they perform their job to a certain set of standards. These can include National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) GuildQuality, or The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Make sure anyone you choose is licensed, bonded and properly insured in order to protect yourself in the event of an on the job injury.

• Get Everything in Writing

Your contract should include a detailed timeline/timeframes, total costs, payment arrangements, project description, how to handle additional costs, and also their contractor's license number and proof of insurance and bonding. Keep all important information in a safe place including contracts, receipts, and key contact information.

• Be Honest About Your Remodeling Budget

If you need to, work with your contractor to break your project down into phases. While this may slightly increase prices, it may be better for you to spread the costs out over time. You can often save a little money by doing some project themselves like painting or cleaning.

• Red Flags

A successful contractor makes it easy to get in touch and see examples of their work. They will gladly provide you with a reference list and encourage you to call past clients. Be cautious if a contractor won't provide references, or doesn't have a current portfolio. Avoid contractors who lack basic information like a website, a positive social media presence, or reviews.

The Bottom Line...

Choosing a remodeling contractor rests on you. Do your homework to find an ethical, skilled remodeling contractor for your project. Research each contractor thoroughly, ask the right questions, look for a good fit, make sure you get everything in writing and take your time! This is an important decision that can affect your entire project. When you find the perfect remodeling contractor, review and sign the proposal, write a deposit check and get ready to enjoy your newly updated home!

If you're planning a home remodeling project in the greater Madison, Wisconsin ares, give the expert team at Degnan Design-Build-Remodeling a call at (608) 846-5963. We're here to answer all of your home improvement and remodeling questions. Let us work with you to create the home of your dreams!