Home Remodeler’s Survival Guide-Preface

The Purpose & Intention of this Guide

Your home is one of your most valuable assets.Selecting the right contractor will be the single most important factor in determining whether your next remodeling experience will be a pleasurable one or not. To be completely satisfied with the outcome of your project, your contractor must incorporate the proper design and scope of work and the right team of people. Every contractor brings a different level of training, knowledge, commitment, and dedication to the table.
We have created this guide to help you better understand the remodeling business so you will know exactly what it takes to help ensure that your next project is a success. With this valuable information, you will be able to make an informed and intelligent decision when choosing a contractor for your next remodeling project.
According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints against home improvement/home repair contractors are among THE most common consumer complaints received. Complaints range from high-pressure sales tactics and confusion over contract terms to poor or incomplete workmanship and overcharging for the amount or quality of work provided. Fortunately, much of this can be avoided with a little research. Unprofessional and disreputable contractors can be easy to spot provided that you heed this advice and don’t let the temptations of a low price keep you from seeing the warning signs.
One study of approximately 1000 homeowners conducted in 2007 by Qualified Remodeler magazine revealed that 50% of them would not hire the contractor they originally chose to remodel their home. 48% said they would not refer the contractor they chose to their friends.
It’s been our experience that most people typically ask only these 3 basic questions when considering a remodeling project…
1. “How much will it cost?”
2. “How long will it take”?
3. “When can the work get started?”
It has always amazed me that there are so few questions asked about the contractor, the processes he or she uses to complete the project, questions about the employees, subcontractors, materials used, the proper scope of work, etc.
There are always a few exceptions but for the most part, these are the three most popular questions. I believe the reason for this lack of questioning is due to one or more of the following reasons:
1. People don’t know what they should ask.
2. They don’t know how or are too afraid to ask.
3. They take too much for granted, dangerously assuming that most contractors follow “standard” business practices that don’t really vary much from one contractor to the next.
The purpose of this guide is to help you become intimately aware of the “ins and outs” of how the remodeling business works. Not only will you know exactly what questions to ask but you’ll also be much more at ease and less apprehensive about asking them because you’ll understand that any good contractor will appreciate your intelligent questions and will likely be far more interested in working with you as a result. Furthermore, by exposing you to all of the ingredients of a great job and a great contractor and showing you what you’ll need to look out for, you’ll be in a much better position to make an intelligent decision when it comes time to hire someone for your next project. This guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge and tools that will enable you to see, quite obviously, the right contractor for your particular job.
This is not a “how to” guide to managing a contractor. While it may be hard to believe with all the stories out there, there are contractors who require very little, if any, “managing” on your part. Many “How to” books are written to help the consumer “manage” a contractor. This advice is well-intentioned but it fails to address the real problem – who are you hiring? A professional contractor, by definition, does not need to be managed. A professional contractor knows exactly what needs to be done, when and how to do it and how to manage your project. A professional contractor has systems in place and processes they follow to help ensure predictable, consistent, success. A professional contractor will invite you to join his TEAM of professionals so that together you can design and build your dream.
In the following weeks, we will share “10 Things You Must Know Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor”