Word of mouth is always a wonderful way to find a qualified remodeling contractor. If you know of someone who is pleased with his or her remodel project, ask who did the work.
If your project calls for some type of specialized work, such as historical restoration, decorative masonry, or custom woodwork, ask a local interior-decorating firm whom they’d call if they were working on a similar project.
Architectural firms can lead you to remodeling contractors who specialize in major structural changes to a home. This list of referrals is likely to become very handy if your remodel job includes features such as a changed roofline, relocating interior walls, or the addition of a fireplace or stairway.
The construction industry’s trade associations can also tell you which remodeling contractors are members in good standing, as will your local Better Business Bureau.
Once you’ve acquired a list of potential candidates, invite each remodeling contractor on your list to come to your home for an on-site consultation. Show them the area in question and let them review any drawings, sketches, photos, or samples that you want to incorporate. Ask for a written estimate that includes timeline, work schedule, and expense.
By the time you’ve finished this step, you’ll probably have a favorite or two at the top of your list. Wait for the estimates, however, before making a decision.
Once you’ve received a written estimate from each remodeling contractor on your list, compare them item by item, not just by bottom line only. The least expensive contractor may not be such a bargain if it will take three times as long to complete the job. Or if they work only on Saturdays.
Once you’ve got the numbers in check, consider which remodeling contractor you feel the most comfortable with. After all, it’s your home where he or she will be working and you want to feel confident that your home, your possessions, and your family are safe while the project is under way and afterwards, too.