Before you begin to call remodeling companies, it is a good idea to organize your thoughts on what your project will look like, how much you’d like to spend, and what is most important to you when selecting who to hire.
The list of items below will help guide you through this organizational process and get your prepared for the types of questions your potential remodelers will be asking you. Use this list as a starting point and add any other categories that you feel it will be important that your contractor knows about your job.
Write down your goals for your project – why do you want to have the work done?
If everything went exactly according to plan, what would your completed project look like and what goals would that accomplish? E.g. “I want to have a two-story addition built with a garage below and a bedroom and bathroom up above. This will allow my growing family to have additional living and storage space without having to move from the property that we love.”
How many contractors would you like to interview?
You may be thinking “as many as possible,” but consider that for every contractor you seriously consider you will have to call them, have them visit your site, explain the entire project, review their estimate, etc. Depending how much time you have to give, it may be to your advantage to narrow down your list ahead of time and choose 1-3 that really stick out to you during your research.
Think about what type of contractor you will need.
There are a thousand different types of contractors available, which one will be right for your job? If you are handy and plan on doing some of the work yourself, maybe you just need a plumber and electrician to help you with some of the more complex portions? If you want an entire kitchen remodeled and need the assistance of a dozen or more tradesmen, it might be time to call a full-service firm that will build and manage the entire process.
Consider how soon you would like the project started or if you have a deadline for the project
Some clients would like their work done as soon as possible while others are in the early stages of the process and need additional time to think about their options. Many clients also don’t care when a job starts provided it is done by a deadline – say a wedding, an open house, a big party, etc.
Decide on an investment budget range that makes sense for your family
Knowing what your budget is beforehand is a powerful tool for helping you decide if a remodeling project makes sense for your home. Armed with that information, a good remodeler will be able to guide you to a reasonable decision. For example, say you are willing to invest $15,000 into your home or you will move and try to find one more suited to your family. If the scope of work you desire won’t fit into your budget range, you can feel confident in your decision to sell your home instead and move.
Prioritize your scopes of work
If you have multiple phases to a project or numerous projects in multiple areas of your home/property, it can be helpful to list them in order of their importance to you. This can help you pick between them if necessary, and can help in planning the phases of a project to best meet your needs.
Research, research, research!
The bigger the project, the more you can expect to spend, and the bigger the stakes if something goes awry during your remodel. Researching and selecting the best contractor for your project is the best way to combat running into headaches down the road. Combining multiple methods is the best way – find out all your can about your candidates before you speak with them by browsing their websites, reading reviews, checking out their social media, and asking friends and associates for recommendations.
Consider how you will finance the project
Some contractors will finance a job for you, but many firms do not operate that way. If you don’t have the investment money lined up to at least some degree it probably doesn’t make sense to start the process of searching for your remodeler just yet.
Review your past building/remodeling/construction experiences
This step can help you clarify what you hold important in your future contractor if you have personally experienced past construction projects. Review what went well and what you would change if you could do it over again. Think of any areas that you would like paid special attention. You can also ask friends and family who have remodeled to share their experiences and what to keep an eye out for.