4 Steps Before You Remodel: Advice from a Tallahassee Contractor

Remodeling Contractor, Kitchen, Bathroom

Working with a Contractor

I’ve been a kitchen and bath remodeling contractor for more than 10 years. I love my work and working with homeowners. I have great respect for my clients but over the years there have been frustrations that could have been avoided had the homeowner taken some time to prepare properly.

I want to outline four simple steps you can take to help make your project run smoothly.

1. Create a Scope of Work

Write up a scope of work and give it to every contractor that bids on your project. If the scope changes before all the bids are in adjust the scope of work document and email it to all the contractors who have already bid so they can adjust their estimates for you.

If you don’t know how to prepare the scope of work then you need to hire a professional to help you. Note that I said hire, not ask for a free estimate and expect the contractor to spend hours helping you design your project. Our time is valuable too.

2. Have a Budget

Have a budget and discuss it with each contractor that bids on your project. It doesn’t matter if the initial budget is high or low or even realistic but you need a starting point. Its very difficult to properly bid a project without some understanding of your budget.

A contractor will spec certain materials and level of finishes based on your budget. Similar to the scope of work if the budget changes while

3. Ask to see license and proof of insurance

I worked hard to get my license and I’m proud of it. To get a license a remodeling contractor must pass an exam that covers building codes, insurance and contract law, accounting practices, project management, OSHA standards and more. They also must undergo a background and credit check, carry a minimum amount of liability insurance and earn continuing education credits.

If you have a complaint against a licensed contractor you can file it with the state and they could be fined and lose their license.

Sometimes you just need a tradesman or handyman for simple repairs, but if the scope of work requires a contractor protect yourself and your home and hire a licensed professional. We’ve written more about this here and here.

4. Learn About Us

Licensing and insurance is one way to qualify a contractor and is an easy first step. But also ask us about our design aesthetic, what our specialty is, how many employees we have, who are our most trusted subcontractors, if we like dogs.. whatever you want.

A contractor could be working in your home for weeks. You need to think about the kind of person you want to spending that kind of time in your home.

Final Thoughts

Contractors get a bad wrap. Sure there are some shady characters out there, but many contractors are true professionals and and want wants best for you.

A little preparation on your part and some honest discussion with your contractor will help ensure a smooth project that finishes on time and on budget.

 Paul McManus

Certified Residential Contractor (Lic # CRC1331326)