Check out our Commercial Construction Division Tab.
Help your home renovations go smoothly and stay on budget with this wise advise from a pro
Jenn-Co tries to educate consumers on how to avoid making costly mistakes when searching for construction services. If you would like more info on tips, recommendations or have general questions regarding the industry, please click on the button below.
After you post your project and contractors start to contact you with bids, it is very important to make wise decisions regarding who you hire.
The truth is, most licensed contractors are honest, hardworking and financially responsible. However, home improvement is a top source of consumer complaints nationwide. By avoiding the following mistakes, you will greatly reduce the chances of having a bad experience.
The biggest mistake consumers make is being seduced by the lowest bid. Would you hire the cheapest surgeon in town to operate on you or a member of your family? There is a saying, "Some of the most expensive work you will ever pay for is cheap work."
Considering that your home is your biggest investment, you should always think long-term when it comes to renovations, additions or any kind of remodeling. Is saving a few dollars now really worth risking substandard quality, especially if you spread the financial savings and poor workmanship over 5, 10 or 20 years of living in your home? Another thing to watch out for is contractors who purposely use low quotes to win the job and then jack up the price later.
Your most important tool in evaluating the cost of a project is the value of what you are getting for your money. Low prices are usually a trade- off for cutting corners in materials, workmanship or warranty. Remember that most average flooring, paint jobs, tile installations or other aspects of the project can look good when completed; the true test is how will they hold up over the next 5 to 10 years? Did the painter use a proper primer or just paint over things, something you won't realize until a year later when the paint starts to peel? Did the carpet installer used a good quality carpet with the proper under padding, or just the cheapest padding available? These differences are usually the difference between a lower and a higher estimate.
Sounds silly doesn't it, but not really. Everyone starts with a "visual" of the completed remodeling project. Put yours down on paper. The more details you include, the better.
If you don't know what you want, you might not like what you get. Also, if you change your mind and change the job halfway through, the contract, including the price, will change also (Tip: it won't get cheaper). Know what you want done as clearly as possible. You don't have to know the details of each and every facet of the work, but you do need to have a good general idea of your goals and expectations. Changes midway will keep increasing the price, especially if completed sections of the project have to be redone.
Insist on a written contract. Insisting on a clear contract isn't about mistrust, it's about insuring a successful work relationship. The written contract is essential for your protection, as well as the contractor's. The contract should be dated and include your name and address, as well as the contractor's name, address, and phone number. It should also contain a detailed description of the project, (the scope of work) including plans, materials, model numbers (if applicable), quantities, colors, and the approximate starting and completion dates. It should also outline how changes in work orders will be handled and the notice required for cancellation.
The contract must specify a payment schedule, allowing you to schedule payments at different stages, tied to completions of specific aspects of the project. Have a final payment due when the project is completed to your satisfaction.
Check the references you've collected from your interviews. Go directly to the source. Ask the contractor if you can visit a current job site or look at a portfolio of completed work. Better yet, request a list of names and phone numbers of recent customers and call them. Request their website. Reliable contractors will provide you with updated information on their website. Review the referral section of their website.
A good contractor will be happy to provide you with written references. When speaking to the contractor's customers, ask such questions as:
Did the contractor keep to the schedule and the contract terms? Were you pleased with the work and the way it was done? Did the contractor listen if you had a problem, and seem concerned about resolving it? Did the contractor willingly make any necessary corrections? Would you hire him again? Would you recommend him to others?
You may also wish to check the contractor out with your local building department, trade association or union, local consumer protection agency, and consumer fraud unit in your city. Call these organizations to see if they have information about the contractor you are considering. Ask the contractor for the address of his or her business and business telephone number, and verify them.
If a contractor says he has insurance coverage for himself and any workers, he should be happy to show you documentation from the insurance company. Don't expose your home owner's policy to claims for contractor negligence. With home owner's insurance rates climbing all over the country the last thing you need to do is have to make a claim for no reason, when a simple verification of your contractors insurance could protect you from it.
Ask about their General Liability Insurance. Make sure he requires the same coverage from any sub-contractors that will be working on your home. Sub-contractors without insurance won't be covered under the general contractors insurance and will default back to you.
Ask about Workers Compensation insurance. Without it, if the contractor or any of his employees get hurt on the job site they can go after you personally to pay for medical expenses. Imagine the nightmare of a debilitating injury; you could lose your house for innocently asking someone to work on it.
The importance of asking a potential contractor about their work habits cannot be stressed enough. Ask questions concerning how they perform their work, what time they start, how they protect carpets, how trash and debris are handled, and whether they work straight through to the completion of a project. The answers to these questions will give you a clear picture of what type of contractor you are dealing with.
The more experience a contractor has with the work involved in your project, the smoother, more efficient and even more economical the process will be. Ask the contractor how many times he has completed projects such as yours. What issues does he anticipate encountering during your project? What procedures does he have in place to eliminate problems if they arise?
Contact us today for a service estimate.
Female owned and operated, Jenn-Co Inc., performs all levels of Residential and Commercial building and remodeling. We offer start-to-finish solutions for every project to include full design services. Jenn-Co specializes in interior or exterior home renovations, new home builds, rough framing, home additions, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, office renovation, garages, pole barns, decking, siding, stone work, outdoor entertaining area's and more!
Jenn-Co Inc., guarantee's high-quality construction for each and every project. Check out samples of our recent work, and you'll agree that we're the best choice for your home renovation or new build project.
Jenn-Co Inc., is fully insured and a Equal Opportunity Employer