Are you finally ready to improve your house with home remodeling? If so, then you’ll need to determine the right home remodeling company for you. To do so, you should compile a list of 10-15 home remodeling companies in your area. Then, you must narrow your list down to the top contenders before ultimately choosing your home remodeling company. If you’re all set to start your search right away, then use this advice to find your perfect home remodeling company.
- Steps to Finding the Best Home Remodeling Company
- Step to Working with the Best Home Remodeling Company
13 Steps to Finding the Best Home Remodeling Company
1. Know what you want
Your home remodeling will go faster and more smoothly if you have a solid understanding of your goals for your space. The room(s) you want to improve, the main issues in each room that you want to address, the design style you want to follow – establish these and other pertinent details before you hire anyone. If you don’t have a plan, you run the risk of going over budget, missing deadlines, or even derailing your remodel.
Once you know what you want, you can trust that a good home remodeling company will check every item off your list and meet all of your needs. However, you should also know that a great remodeling company will exceed your expectations by fulfilling your desires as well with creative solutions and unique suggestions.
2. Research the cost of labor and materials
Unfortunately, prices for just about everything are rising, and that includes home remodeling goods and services. Therefore, you can’t expect your home remodel to cost a similar amount to a home remodel your friends or family completed in the past. But you can expect a great home remodeling company to do quality work and use quality products for a reasonable price. If you look into the costs of materials and labor on your own, you can determine how fair of a deal a home remodeling company is offering.
3. Get recommendations
The words of others are of utmost importance in your search for the ideal home remodeling company. They will supply you with a wealth of objective information about what working with each of your home remodeling company candidates is like. For this reason, you should collect as many recommendations as you can.
Your sources should include:
- client testimonials
- social media comments
- real estate agents
- building inspectors
- online reviews
The more objective feedback you receive on the home remodelers you’re considering, the better. And, of course, the more positive impressions people have of a home remodeling company, the better that home remodeling company is for your project.
4. Have realistic expectations for the timeline
A great remodeling company will go above and beyond for your satisfaction. However, you should still familiarize yourself with the normal process of a home remodel. A reputable home remodeling company will begin by getting to know you, your home, and your vision for your living spaces. Then, they will help you finalize your budget based on what you need, what you want, and what you can afford.
Next, a good home remodeling company will undertake the demolition of all the old, unwanted materials in the space. Then, they will begin construction by bringing in new materials and/or repairing any remaining materials. They will handle the agreed-upon installations and final touches before clearing out so you can enjoy your revitalized space.
You should discuss how long this process will take and the schedule for each step with the home remodeling companies you’re considering. If they can’t estimate how long it will take them or if their plan for the work is inefficient, then you should scratch their name off your list of candidates.
5. Compare the portfolios of home remodeling companies
You should be able to find portfolios for the home remodeling companies you’re considering on their websites. A good portfolio includes at least 10 projects with high-quality before, during, and after photos for each project. If you suspect the portfolio on their website isn’t up to date, ask the home remodeling company for photos of projects they completed in the last year.
In these photos, you’ll want to see a good selection of finished projects that demonstrate a range of designs, layouts, materials, and features. As you peruse these portfolios, look for projects similar to yours, styles that intrigue you, and floorplans that mimic your own. If you see several examples of spaces you’d like to live in, then the home remodeling company responsible for those spaces should move up your list. Conversely, if you see projects that don’t meet your standards, then that home remodeling company won’t meet your standards either. Generally, they highlight what they consider to be their best work.
You want to choose the right company for the right project. So, securing a home remodeler that specializes in projects like yours would be a win.
If one of your potential home remodeling companies doesn’t have a portfolio on their website, you can check Google, Bing, Facebook, or Instagram for images. If you strike out on those sites as well, then you should move on from that home remodeling company.
6. Ask for licensing and certification for each remodeling company
The best home remodeling company for you will definitely keep everything they do above board. That means they will have the specific licenses and certifications they need for each and every job. The legal requirements for home remodeling companies vary by state. So, you should contact the licensing division of your local government to learn the exact requirements the home remodeling companies should meet.
You should also make sure that the home remodeling companies on your list have liability insurance in case they damage your home. Additionally, the home remodeling companies should have worker’s compensation for their crews. Ask for a copy of their insurance policies and verify that they’re up to date.
Award extra attention to home remodeling companies that have certain designations and certifications. For example, they may have designations from professional associations like the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the National Association of Homebuilders. Or, home remodeling companies can have certifications for aging in place home modifications, living in place home modifications, and interior design.
If a home remodeling company has many of these designations and certifications, especially ones that are relevant to your project, then that home remodeling company is a strong contender. Drop any company that doesn’t have the right credentials, hesitates to give them to you, or takes too long to give them to you.
7. Investigate the business experience and management of home remodeling companies
As much as you want a home remodeling company to beautify your house, you also want them to value your patronage. Therefore, how well they operate their company is as significant to your search as how well they improve a space. To gauge the success of their business management, start by reading the About page on their website.
Here, you can learn facts such as:
- long they’ve been in business
- how long they’ve used their current business name
- if they have an established presence in the community
- how many employees they have
- how much experience their employees have
If a home remodeling company has been in business for more than 10 years, they should be a reliable choice.
Community involvement is a good indication of how trustworthy, ethical, and dependable a home remodeling company is. Find out if they support any schools or athletic teams, participate in fundraising events, or donate to local charities. That way, you can confirm if they give back to the neighborhoods around them.
8. Analyze home remodeling company BBB ratings
A good home remodeling company is a member of the Better Business Bureau. And a great home remodeling company has a high ranking with the Bureau.
To find a home remodeling company on the BBB website, you’ll need their official name. Once you locate them on the site, you can see if they’ve received any complaints or had any problems. Pay attention to how they’ve handled these issues. Working with dissatisfied customers is an opportunity to show integrity and respect.
If a home remodeling company on your list is accredited and has an A rating or above, they deserve to stay on your list.
9. Check references for home remodeling companies
At this point, your list should be shrinking. What’s more, your comfort levels with each home remodeling company that remains should be increasing. You’ve made contact, so they know you’re interested and should be working with you to help you make your decision. One thing they should certainly be ready and willing to do is to share references with you.
Typically, a home remodeling company has a list of about 10 or more completed projects that include the name, address, and telephone number of each customer. The mix of customers should include recent jobs and older references. Work from various neighborhoods should be represented as well. The home remodeling company should provide dates for each job. You should ask for the dates if they’re not already present.
Questions to Ask References
Call at least 5 references, and when you do, take good notes. You should also request permission to see the project in person. Ask questions such as:
- Did the company finish the job on time?
- Were problems addressed quickly and professionally?
- Were the team members punctual?
- During which hours did the crew work?
- Did they keep the job site neat?
- Did the project stay within budget?
- Has the work held up?
If a home remodeling company doesn’t have enough references or has a significant time gap between references, ask for more information. The company might have put work on hold for some reason.
When speaking with past clients, pay attention to their attitudes and tone as they report on their experience with the home remodeling company. If they stay positive even while mentioning small problems, then you’ll know they were very impressed with the company. Conversely, if they hesitate or answer indirectly, you’ll know they were generally displeased. Any home remodeling company that receives an ambivalent or bad review from a reference shouldn’t stay on your list.
10. Assess a finished remodeling project
After you’ve culled your list of home remodeling companies based on the input of their references, you can take the more committed action of reviewing their completed projects. Try to arrange a visit to the homes of at least one past client per home remodeling company that you’re still considering. Remember, these past clients will be the references each company provided.
Choose references that seem welcoming and whose projects are similar to yours. You’d also benefit from surveying a project that is a few years old so you can see if it’s still in good shape.
Scrutinize the work as closely as you can. Then, ask the homeowners if their remodel has ever required servicing or repairs. Look for red flags in the execution of the following projects:
- Kitchen remodels: cheap materials, obvious countertop seams, an illogical layout, inadequate storage or counter space, poor lighting
- Bathroom remodels: cheap materials, slanted floors, stains on the walls or ceiling, insufficient lighting
- Tile work: tile or grout cracking, crooked tiles or lines, inconsistent grout lines, obvious transitions between surfaces, excess grout or caulking along edges, uneven surfaces
- Paint: paint runs, imperfect lines and edges, overspray, streaks, paint splatter on the floor
If you find any issues with one of the finished projects, don’t bother with the home remodeling company responsible for it any longer.
11. Interview at least 3 remodeling company candidates
Now that you’ve done a significant amount of investigation into a handful of home remodeling companies, you can take another big step toward narrowing your list down by conducting interviews. Speaking with at least 3 candidates is essential, but you certainly don’t have to stop there. Some people prefer to interview 5 candidates, while others don’t mind speaking to upwards of 10. Basically, you want to give yourself this experience with enough home remodeling companies that you feel like you can make an informed decision without getting overwhelmed.
Before you schedule a face-to-face interview, you can talk with each home remodeling company over the phone. Doing so helps them plan for your arrival. It also allows you to ensure that you really do want to meet with them. During your phone calls, you can ask questions like:
- Do they take projects of your size?
- Are they willing to provide financial references from suppliers or banks?
- How many other projects do they have going on at the same time?
- How long have they worked with their suppliers?
- Can they provide proof of their incorporation date?
- Do they have any areas of expertise?
When you meet face to face, you can discuss more of the specifics of your project. You can inquire about who your point of contact will be and how involved company leadership will be in your project. Will there be a renovation supervisor? What measures will they take to protect your home and contain the job site? Will they allow change orders? How will they solve disputes? Do they have a warranty for their work? What will the scope of the work involve? How much will the down payment be? How and when will they secure materials?
As you ask these questions, take detailed notes. Also, assess the vibe you get from everyone you talk to at the company. If you sense any tension or feel that something is off about your interactions, don’t be dismissive about that part of your experience. You’ll be interacting with these people for quite a while as they improve your house, so you really want to find a good fit with the personality and culture of your home remodeling company.
12. Get bids from each home remodeling company
By now, your list of home remodeling companies you might work with should be nice and short. You’re at the stage of your search where you’ll need to contemplate several major factors before you can whittle your list down any more, and one of those factors is bids.
A bid is a brief proposal and estimated cost that the home remodeling company will present you with after a thorough consultation. The bid should also include the timeline for the project, the types of materials they recommend for your project, and the total cost of the project.
You should get bids for your top three or four home remodeling companies. A good home remodeling company will want you to provide a complete set of blueprints for your project as well as your approximate budget so they can supply you with the most accurate bid. In their bid, they should break down the cost of labor and materials, their profit margins, and other expenses. Usually, a good home remodeling company allots 40% of the budget to materials, another 40% to labor and other expenses, and up to 20% for profit margins.
Reviewing the Bids
When reviewing the bids, keep in mind that price isn’t everything. Going with the contractor that makes the lowest bid isn’t always the best idea. In fact, you should be wary of a bid that is particularly low. If a home remodeling company presents a bid that is more than 15% lower than the other bids, then you should decline that bid. That home remodeling company either doesn’t entirely understand the scope of your project or is low-balling the bid to secure the job and then tack on more costs later. A company that submits a very high bid is also suspect and should be avoided.
We know that the amount of the bids will play a significant role in your home remodeling company decision, but you get what you pay for. So, try to select a company that is transparent about their proposal and committed to working efficiently with effective materials. Otherwise, you could end up with shoddy work that you have to pay to replace sooner than necessary.
And if any company pressures you to sign right away, scratch them off your list as well.
13. Inspect the contract of your remodeling company
You’ve collected so much data in the process of seeking the best home remodeling company for you that you should be able to make a decision by now. You know what you want out of this remodel, you know what you want out of a home remodeling company, and you know which company in your area can deliver what you want. So, you’re ready to take the very last step before you hire that company: review the contract.
A standard home remodeling company contract should include the following:
- Company’s business and contact information
- Company’s insurance and licensing information
- A detailed description of the work to be done
- A list of the materials, model numbers, and suppliers
- The site plan
- A sequential schedule of primary construction tasks
- A timeline for finishing the project
- The bid price
- The terms and schedule for payment
- Permits the company will acquire
- The change-order clause
- A termination clause to protect both parties
- A written procedural list for close-out
- An express limited warranty
- A dispute resolution clause
- A waiver of lien, which prevents the suppliers from putting a lien on the house if the company doesn’t pay their invoices
Paying Attention to the Payment Schedule
Scrutinize this contract very closely and make sure it looks professional. Review the payment schedule in particular if you haven’t discussed this with the home remodeling company yet. For a large remodeling project, such as kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling, you can expect to pay around 10% as a down payment when you sign the contract. Then, you’ll make 3 evenly-spaced payments of 25% for the duration of the project. Finally, you’ll pay the last 15% once you feel everything on the punch list is done. Don’t continue with a company that wants the full amount before work begins, and don’t make that final payment until you are totally satisfied with the results.
As you’re reviewing the contract, you should communicate with the home remodeling company as much as you need to. Good communication will be essential to keeping everyone happy as your project progresses, so start the habit of asking questions and expressing your concerns right now. You don’t have to be best friends with your home remodeling company, but you all should be able to get along and work well together. And the best home remodeling company will treat you like family anyway.
If you’ve found that company, sign the contract and let the fun of home remodeling begin!
1 Step to Working with the Best Home Remodeling Company
Finding the right home remodeling company for you is a big job that requires lots of time and energy. However, it’s the only way to ensure that you’ll be satisfied with the results of your home remodel. Home remodeling is costly and time-consuming, so it’s more than worth your while to work with a home remodeling company that is committed to giving you an extraordinary experience.
For homeowners in northeast Ohio, BenchMark Home Services is such a company. We exist to serve you and spruce up your home. BenchMark Home Services wants you to love every inch of your house, so we specialize in transforming your whole home with kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, home office remodeling, living room remodeling, room additions, and more. We even supply aging in place home modifications and living in place home modifications.
If you know what you want and don’t need design services, you can turn to BenchMark Home Services for your home remodel. However, if you want a high-end, customized home design to serve as the foundation of your project, then you should consult Capozzi Design Build. Capozzi Design Build is our parent company, and both Capozzi and BenchMark provide home remodeling services to the greater Cleveland area. Contact us today to start the home remodel of your dreams!