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When hiring a remodeling company… and how to avoid them!

By Brian Martin

I like drinking coffee, not the fancy 3 shot-whole milk-double cinnamon-whip…way too many words at the drive-thru. Nope, just a simple coffee with a splash of cream for me thank you. Usually costs me $2.50 and I am happy. I feel very different when dealing with a car mechanic. I do not mind paying whatever it takes to get the job done right the first time. Anyone who has been stuck on the side of a highway will agree that cutting costs on a vehicle repair is not a good idea. I want the technician with the most amount of experience and I want the best parts made. I think we all have things we are willing to invest in and other things we are okay with the barebones.

Here are some things to consider when looking to hire for a home renovation project.

Whether this is your first remodeling project or your hundredth, it’s wise to be cautious, ask lots of questions, and speak with the remodeler’s former clients. And think through the following:

Mistake #1–– Being pressured to sign a contract. You should always see renderings or drawings and be completely clear on what’s being proposed. A qualified remodeling company should be busy and not make you feel the need to pressure you to sign up today.

Mistake #2–– Hiring for labor only. It may seem like a great deal when you see a lower dollar amount for a remodeling project. However, if the deal requires you, the homeowner, to acquire all of the materials, you’ll soon discover the stresses involved. Where to buy? You will pay retail prices anyway? Did you order enough material? (The labor-only contractor will leave your jobsite if there isn’t enough). Did you order the right size? And what will you do if and whenthere are damages or shortages?

Mistake #3–– Hiring sub-contractors. It’s not that sub-contractors are bad people, not at all! The problem is they may have many other projects they’re working on. Yours could be job #1 or #2. Yours could also be #15 or #20. So, when the contractor you hire is ready for the tile subcontractor, that sub-contractor could be tied up for a week on another job. The same goes for the carpenter, plumber, electrician, painter…. And what happens when the tile sub-contractor runs into a problem with the way in which the carpenter prepared the shower walls and now wants to charge more for the extra time it takes to install the tile? Who pays for that?

Mistake #4–– Not Hiring a Design Team. Without a design team to assist you, it can be challenging walking into a building material showroom on your own. Thousands of samples and many displays in a showroom, sales staff running around here and there, a long counter with people in line looking for help. Who can help you…and where do you start?

Mistake #5–– Cost-Plus Contractors. Some contractors will list the cost of every bit of material and will list a labor price separately. So, if your project takes longer or requires more material than initially listed on the contract, you, as the homeowner, pays the difference. And when you see the contractors sitting in their trucks eating an hour lunch or you see them making mistakes cutting tile causing hundreds of broken pieces being thrown away –– are you the one paying for this? It’s better to have a LUMP-SUM agreement in-advance where the contractor lists one cost for the project and is held to that amount regardless of their mistakes or miscalculations.

And before you sign, ask lots of questions, seek references, speak with recent homeowners who have used the remodeling company.


© Copyright 2023 Brian T. Martin & TMC Construction Services, Inc.

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