You can save a lot of money remodeling your home by doing the work yourself. This is fine so long as you stick to simpler projects like installing snap-on baseboard radiator covers or repainting your doors or replacing light fixtures and cabinet hardware. There are many projects you shouldn’t attempt yourself as you probably won’t save yourself any money at all since you’re likely to mess it up and need the help of a professional in the end anyways. If the kind of remodel you’re planning requires a skilled contractor, then you need to think carefully about who you should hire.
Unscrupulous remodeling contractors are all too common and if you rush the process of hiring one, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with one who does unsatisfactory work or who skips town with the project incomplete. Here are a few tips to help you make sure that the contractor you ultimately decide to hire is a reputable one.
Check with your local registries or the BBB
Many cities either require contractors to have a license and/or register with the city in order to operate within that area. Even cities that don’t require this may have a voluntary registry. You should find out from your local chamber of commerce what registries might be available for you to look at. Whenever possible you should try to hire someone who is registered as a contractor in the city where you reside. Your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can also be a valuable resource in helping you determine which contractors are running legitimate businesses and which ones aren’t.
The best qualification is a good reputation. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors who’ve had remodeling work done for recommendations for good contractors. Local home improvement stores, especially the smaller family-owned ones are also a great resource for good recommendations. If you’re hearing the same name pop up a lot, that’s a good sign.
Of course be wary of any contractors with a bad reputation in the community but also steer clear of contractors with little or no reputation also. They could just be passing through and likely to leave before the work is complete or they may not have the money for materials up front and might ask you to pay for the work up front since their reputation is not yet established.
Get multiple estimates
Never automatically go with the first estimate you receive even if it seems reasonable and the contractor has a good reputation. Seeing at least three or four estimates will help you compare contractors, get the best value for the price, and make a more informed decision. Any reputable contractor is going to do the estimate for free so you don’t have to worry about spending any money for them.
Winter is a great time to find your remodeling contractor since it’s the offseason for that particular industry and you’ll pretty much have your pick of any contractor you want since they shouldn’t be too busy. Best of all, you’re more likely to negotiate a lower price since contractors will be a little more desperate for work.