What are you looking for in a contractor for your next project? Have you or your family had a bad experience in the past with a remodeler that left you wary about the next job you wanted done? Unfortunately, the construction industry seems to attract some types of people who are dishonest or downright scammers. Even if you find a trustworthy, reputable company to work with you might experience some issues that make the remodeling experience a little frustrating rather than enjoyable. According to a survey by Angie’s List there are 3 primary complaints that tarnish the experience – contractors not returning phone calls or being accessible enough; lack of communication or miscommunications that lead to avoidable delays; and finally, how the contractor handled unexpected issues that cropped up during the project.
While there are a lot more ways a project can go right or wrong, these 3 complaints consistently came up across the country which means it is definitely not a local or regional problem. After reviewing the results of the survey, R. L. Rider Remodeling decided to commit to never allowing any of these issues to invade one of our remodels. Our policies include always returning phone calls within one business day, dedicated and quick problem resolution, and weekly check-ins that review the previous week’s work while looking ahead to what the next week has in store. Nipping potential roadblocks in the bud has allowed us to proactively make our process more efficient and our clients even happier!
Now that we know what customers do not like, what about the positive traits they are looking for when choosing their next contractor? A joint survey conducted by Guild Quality and Qualified Remodeler has produced the top 13 traits that clients desire in their remodeler. Below we have listed each one and given an example of how we ensure that your needs will be met from concept to completion when you start a project with R. L. Rider Remodeling.
- Schedule – when will the job start and how long will it take? We provide you typical timelines by project type early in the process, and a firm start date long before we begin. Then a detailed final schedule featuring every trade is planned with our subcontractors which is released once ground breaks. Minor adjustments may be needed but we can always hit a target completion date if you have a specific deadline coming up like a party or extended vacation.
- Punchlist – this typically describes the final to-do list at the end of the project where the contractor takes care of all the final details before they receive their last payment. The details are the most important part though, and leaving some “small” ones to the end may lead to much bigger issues. We take a proactive approach with frequent check-ins as we move through each stage of work which results in a minimal or non-existent punchlist.
- Communication – the tale of a contractor collecting your down payment and then answering his phone once a week (if you’re lucky) is as old as time. We will never make you pull teeth to get answers to your questions, and you will always talk to a real person!
- Problem Resolution – new construction is messy, and remodeling an existing structure is even more so with the added demolition and space modifications. Sometimes accidents happen or subcontractors do not perform the work exactly as expected. Many contractors will give you the old “it is what it is” adage which could leave customers furious. We always approach problem resolution head-on with the attitude of “How can we make this right for you?”
- Added Value from Project – this is a big ticket item for some customers – how much will this work I’m paying x amount for be reflected in the price of my home if I were to sell it? We are here to educate and inform first and foremost, so this may be a disappointing answer: the best you can expect to recoup on a home improvement project is about 60% of the project price being added to your home’s value. Some projects are much less than that, too – that is a best-case scenario. Remodeling is for your enjoyment, not the next owner’s. We advise clients to plan on staying in their home for at least 5 years after a major remodel in light of this, and will not recommend any work at all if you are planning a move within 2 years.
- Professional & Organized – there are lots of levels of contractors in existence, from the basic handyman to the full-service commercial firms. The higher up the “food chain” you go, the more you can expect to pay, but the better service and organization you can expect in return. Don’t expect small shops to be able to provide high levels of professionalism, and don’t expect the opposite from your high-end remodeler that costs a significant sum of money to hire.
- Trust & Comfort – if you have a major remodel planned, you should recognize that you will be working alongside the contractor you hire for at least a few months. You should feel total trust/confidence in their knowledge of the building trades as well as comfortable with your key points of contact. We only employ friendly, educated experts to work in your home and at our office.
- Work Done Correctly – as contractors get busier and busier, the temptation to cut corners on one job in order to jump to the next one gets greater. Doing a job correctly the first time is not just a principle, it is a way of life for us. Nothing is more inefficient than doing a job halfway, receiving customer complaints, inspecting the issue, ripping out the old work, and finally doing it the right way. Just get it done correctly with the materials you said you would and life is good!
- Construction Quality – this one is similar to number 8 but gets more into the products and materials side of things. In construction, nothing rings more true than “you get what you pay for.” A lot of smaller contractors do not keep educated on new, high-quality materials that are constantly coming to market. Don’t get stuck with a remodeler who doesn’t give you all the options. We present you different level options depending on budget and other factors so that you get the best possible quality on your job without breaking your budget.
- Budget – …and speaking of budget, this comes in at 10th on the survey. We are not going to be the least expensive firm, but we are also set up to serve clients who want an extremely high level of service and quality. So neither side wastes much time, we figure out early on if we will be a good fit to work together and give you a budget price right over the phone! If you have 5 minutes to discuss your project, we can give an approximate preliminary opinion of cost before even stepping foot on sight. Now you’re armed with a number to plan around with no surprises!
- Expertise – this isn’t very high on the list of customer’s wants for their remodeler, and part of that is explained by the fact that they expect expertise when they call a professional contractor. While that would be ideal, the truth is that many builders do not devote themselves to education and thus fall behind the industry’s ever-increasing standards. Their work may be okay to start, but issues tend to crop up within a year or two when something is not done correctly.
- Cleanliness & Safety – this feels like another expectation, but again, there are a lot of contractors that don’t care about site safety or cleanliness. While cleanliness is very important, safety is absolutely paramount so no member of your family or ours is injured during the construction process. We dedicate time and training to a full safety program and demand our jobsites be cleaned daily.
- Employees & Subcontractors – we only use the best tradesmen, whether they are employed by us or subcontracted out. They are licensed, insured, and certified in their trades to work on your home in a professional manner. If you have any complaints about any member of our team, we will work immediately to resolve your issue and get a new team member on site to keep work moving forward smoothly.
Phew! That was a big list, but each of the 13 items on here was deemed important by your fellow consumers who have contracted a remodeling project in the past. There really aren’t any “optional” items on there; whoever you hire should be expected to check all of the boxes if they are serious professionals who will do an outstanding job on your remodel. Feeling overwhelmed or confused? Not to worry, give R. L. Rider Remodeling a call at 517-487-3713 or fill out our contact form found at the top of any website page and we will be happy to assist you, even if you just have a few questions. Thank you!