How to Choose a Good Contractor
As a general contractor for over 20 years and the owner of Remodeling California Inc. a local Southern California remodeling company, I meet hundreds of homeowners who are looking for the right contractor for their remodeling needs.
They all have the same issues:
- Trust - fear of making a big decision and more importantly, fear of making the wrong decision! Having been "burned" in the past or hearing negative stories from friends, family or frustrated neighbors who also were "burned" and are skeptical about taking the plunge and staring a home remodeling project. These are real stories and some of them are so unbelievable it would make anyone shy away from taking care of remodeling needs. And, how can you really trust the reviews on the web?
As a general contractor representing my own company, I always tell my potential client how I see the project proceeding and not what he or she wants to hear. Sometimes the project will take longer than thought or cost more than what was budgeted but I believe it is better to be upfront before the job begins and before expectations are not met. This has always been my belief and because of this I have had many clients who have called me again for future projects or referred me to their friends. We all came away from the experience very satisfied and very happy with the results.
My customers get the expertise I have learned through many years of experiences and tell me how much they appreciate my honesty.
- Quality - we all want the best quality and we want the project to be done right. At Remodeling California, we work by the city building codes, we pull city permits so that when the work is inspected it meets these building code regulations. With a trustworthy, experienced contractor the client is buying peace of mind knowing that there are no "cutting corners" as far as quality and safety are concerned.
- Safety - I always put this issue above all as there nothing more important than the client's and the worker's safety. At Remodeling California, we make this as our highest priority. We work with certified electricians, plumbers, framers, roofers etc. We check for asbestos, mold or lead, we pull city permits so that the inspector will double check what has been done. This is a part of building trust with our customers and this is one of many reasons why we are get over 30% of our jobs from word of mouth and referrals. And this is why customers who have used us in past years continue to call us when a new project is anticipated.
- Well-being - these day it is not uncommon for someone looking to do a remodeling project, to get a number of bids. These contractors are found from many diverse ways; Angie's List, magazines, online websites, Yelp as well as referrals from friends.
It is important that the contractor take the time to meet face to face, with the decision makers who are involved, to learn exactly what the job entails, to take basic measurements and to understand the client’s expectations in cost and timing. The initial meeting for an estimate should be at no cost to you, the potential client.
It also is important to get at least 2 references from the contractor. And to follow up on these references. Ask what went right as well as what went wrong. And if something did go wrong, why? Did the contractor remedy it? Did the workers show up every day as planned? Were they on time? Did they clean up at the end of each day? Don't forget that these workers will be in your house sometimes for extended periods of time. Would this reference highly recommend this contractor?
But at the end of the day, the most important quality of hiring a good contractor (after all the references have been checked out and our positive for the most part) is how comfortable you feel with this person. Can you talk with him or her and do you feel that he/she will be a good partner in this project that you are planning to start? And if you are lucky enough to find someone that can help you achieve it and define your vision that is an added bonus.
At Remodeling California, I truly believe in all of the above. I enjoy sharing my ideas and helping my clients achieve their dream kitchens and bathrooms, their outdoor patios and much more.
I would be happy to answer any of your questions and to come to give you a free estimate at your convenience.