Dealing with a home remodeling contractor in Sacramento or anywhere else in the world is a very challenging thing for the newbies. You have to consider many things:
- The needs of your family members;
- Your plans on the household in the nearest future;
- Your budget limits;
- Choice of materials;
- Floor plans;
- Reconstruction difficulties;
- Demolition and dealing with the debris;
The list of things is endless, and it entirely depends on your preferences. Do you need a superficial renovation to make your home look appealing before you put it on the market? Do you fancy an exquisite design with unique and sophisticated details that have to be carried out by the professional architects?
Do you want not only to refresh the overall look of your home but also add up value to it so that you could sell it more expensive than you could ever expect? You’ll probably be surprised to know that a reasonably planned renovation project will not drain your budget — it will help you make your house or apartment a better investment in the future of your family.
- Hire someone responsible to deal with your renovation ideas;
- Make sure you have enough patience and a tiny corner at home where you can hide away from the noise and mess of the process;
- Make sure you have a sense of humor — if not, ask someone else to control everything.
Well, it’s high time to pass on to the choice of a properly working general construction contractor.
The Essentials: First Steps to Your Home Renovation in 2020
It doesn’t matter whether you’re only dreaming about a renovation or already making plans. The essentials lying in the base of any renovation are:
- Contracting team.
Properly arranged renovation implies through pre-planning and a lot of research work. We don’t want our clients to face too much guesswork, that’s why we’ve prepared a list of essentials.
Step 1: Finding the Most Reputable Contractors in the Area
Finding a contractor should start with speculations on what type of project it will be.
|Small Project||Medium-Sized Project||Substantial Project|
|It’s usually a very specific project that does not need a lot of planning. Renovation or replacement of the kitchen cabinetry is considered a small project. Specialized kitchen cabinetry contractor’s help might come in handy.||Any renovation project that has nothing to deal with the structural changes within your living space is considered medium difficulty. A general contractor will be helpful in this case.||Any renovation, reconstruction, and construction project means significant structural changes and the creation of new structures. You shouldn’t face works like these without the help of skillful architects and designers with sufficient experience in your area. You’ll have to hire an architect and a contractor at the same time.|
When you understand what kind of a re-do it will be, take your time and deal with a bit of homework:
- Talk to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers and ask them whether they know anything about the trustworthy general or niche contractor companies in the area;
- Search for help and information from the local building materials suppliers and real estate agents — it’s a part of their professional responsibilities to get in touch with the local building and renovation teams;
- Google for the names of the local contractor companies if you don’t manage or don’t have a possibility to find any information and testimonials from real people;
- As soon as you find the names of the companies, make sure each of them has properly arranged and intuitively straightforward websites;
- Check their ratings on customer review platforms — you’ll be surprised to know how much true-to-life info you can learn from people on the internet;
- Use a combination of a company’s name with the word “scam” — it will help you find out the real reviews in social media, where the companies can’t delete the undesired comments.
Step 2: Have a Phone Conversation
You’ll have to deal with this issue first before you proceed with the real-life conversations. It will help you understand whether the companies on your list are polite and interested in your project. These phone conversations will help you narrow down the search to 4–5 companies.
While you lead the conversation, stay concentrated on the way the representatives of the company talk to you. The manners are highly important because they speak for the ability to be in line with the customers’ interests. The most important details to be aware of are:
- Professional manners of leading a conversation. Your interlocutor should not make you feel awkward or confused.
- Respectful tone. A representative of a general contractor company should not make you feel stupid. Designing, renovation, and construction works demand professional skill and knowledge that you don’t have to possess — these people should be patient, explaining you everything you don’t know.
- Professional interest. A contractor should demonstrate an interest in your ideas and plans because each progress is an important contribution to their reputation and experience.
- No run-around answers. All answers should be prompt and straightforward, especially when it comes to money matters. Everything should be transparent in all matters.
Of course, a conversation means that you should ask questions. But what if it’s your first interaction with a home renovation contractor, and you simply have no idea where to start? The following list of questions might come in handy:
- Do you have a license, and can you demonstrate it to me?
- Do you offer insurance, and what kinds of renovation works does it cover?
- Have you been through the similar renovation and remodeling projects earlier?
- Is there a pos5sibility to have a look at the materials you use and at the ready-made projects as well?
- Do you have any references from satisfied customers?
- When can you start the renovation works at my place?
- Are we going to have a contract containing all the necessary details about our relationship?
If a contractor sounds excited about your project and supplies you
with all the information answering your questions promptly and
directly, this company deserves to stay on your list.
Step 3: It’s Highly Important to Meet Your Potential Contractor
As soon as you deal with a phone conversation, you should arrange a meeting so that you could discuss the details in person. Of course, phone conversation demonstrates a lot, but scam contractors can hire incredible artists and former building professionals so that they could fool you and take you into their trap.
Remember the fact that an honest contractor will never make you sign anything on the first date. A reasonable owner of a renovation business understands that a client should have time to think everything over before the job starts. It will prevent both of you from unwanted complications in the process.
Make sure you ask the following questions during your face-to-face conversation:
- For how long have you been dealing with the renovation and reconstruction business?
- Is your current business address permanent or residential? (You shouldn’t get worried if the address is residential, because many contractor companies prefer to save on the rent and work from home, which demonstrates their reasonable position in the market)
- Are you an insured company? Can you tell me more about the types of insurance you offer?
- Will my project require any special permission from the local authorities?
- How many projects similar to mine have you carried out for the past year?
- Can you provide me with a quote so that I could assess the pricing policy and understand whether you’re able to fit my budget or not? (incredibly low quote might mean that a contractor is either trying to cut on something or simply willing to attract you with the prices — it’s probable that the prices will change drastically in the process of work)
- Will you make up a payment schedule, and can you be flexible when it comes to types of payments and amounts of money I will pay regularly?
- Do you have a project you’re currently dealing with, and can you show it to me so that I could assess your professionalism?
Make short notes after every interview. You can make up the lists of pros and cons to visualize your attitude towards this or that customer. A real-life conversation is a good possibility to ask questions you didn’t manage or simply forgot to ask while talking on the phone.
If a contractor is ready to provide you with a copy of a contract you’re going to sign, it’s a very good sign. It means that a company is not afraid to let their potential customers study the details of further professional relationship. You can even visit one of the local lawyers to make sure that the contract is fine.
Don’t forget to google for the complaints of the customers. Scan the net for the latest projects of the company and try to get in touch with these customers. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t get worried if you find complaints online. It might mean the following:
- The contractor is not trying to hide away their flaws and drawbacks of their work.
- The contractor uses negative feedback to boost up the quality of the provided services.
Pay your attention to the contractor’s online reactions to the negative comments. Do they manage to resolve the issues in the shortest time possible? If yes, there’s nothing to be afraid, because the company seems to be responsible for the jobs performed.
Step 4: Discuss the Financial Matters
Choosing the right renovation contractor in 2020 is not the last thing you have to deal with on the way to your perfect reconstruction of a brush-up project. Negotiating payment issues is crucial if you want to avoid further misunderstanding and excessive waste.
There are two types of basic payment options offered by the majority of the general remodeling contractors not only in Sacramento but all over the country as well:
- Bid basis. This option is appealing to the customers who have a sufficient budget to invest in a renovation project. You’ll only have to agree upon a regular schedule. These could be daily, weekly, and monthly payments you negotiate with a contractor before the renovation starts.
- Cost-plus flat fee. The management of the company will have to take time and evaluate the potential expenses of the customer. You’ll get an almost exact coordination fee that can alter insignificantly in the process of renovation (the additional fee may rise up to 20 %).
In both cases, the company should send a couple of representatives to your place, so that the architects, designers, and other building specialists could have a look at the general condition of your living space, the way your utility systems work, and many other significant and less significant issues.
Remember one thing — you should never pay all sum in advance.
If a contractor asks you for the full sum in advance, it’s a sign of
You should also stick to the following little things:
- NEVER pay in cash. It will be an unprotected deal, and you risk to lose your money or result in an unsatisfying renovation;
- There’s nothing wrong if you use a credit card or a check to pay for the insignificant or small projects. It will be easier to get your money back through the bank if the contractor turns out to be illegal or indecent (make sure you sign the contract before you start the renovation).
Step 5: Contract
No detail should stay out when it’s about your living space. Your apartment or your house should be protected with the official documentation provided by the company. A legitimate general construction contractor is always ready to provide you with official documents proving that they are allowed to do their business in your area.
Your contract should contain several obligatory details:
- Complete contact information so that you could officially get in touch with the company through the official third parties and representatives of the court if you have any trouble that needs lawful and officially documented decisions.
- The specified and negotiated dates of the beginning and the end of the renovation work. You should be aware of the completion date.
- The details of your payment schedule.
- The details of your renovation project. Make sure you have complete floor plans with detailed layouts, including the plumbing, electricity, and all the other types of utility systems.
- Materials and tools listed. All building products required for your project should be included in the plan together with the prices and at least approximate calculation of the potential expenses that might happen in case of unpredictable situations caused by anything that cannot be controlled by the contractor.
- A guarantee, signifying the company of your choice, has legitimate permission to work in your area and deal with the property of its residents. Every state in the country, as well as certain cities and districts, can be under the specific building laws permitting or restricting something you might not know. A legitimate renovation and construction contractor is always aware of the local laws and permissions.
- Names of people that will work in the team. All builders, architects, designers, and planners’ names should be signed in your contract so that you could have a chance to protect your property and have a satisfying result.
- Names of the possible subcontractors and third parties. The suppliers of the materials and tools should also be included in the list.
- Detailed info on the warranty and its coverage.
- The so-called “broom clause.” Its presence in the contract means the contractor bears responsibility for the debris and all cleanup procedures. If you’re designing a renovation of only one room, the contractor should protect your living space from the possible dust and debris from the demolition procedures utilizing special equipment that should also be included in the list of materials.
- Termination clause. It’s one of the crucial elements of the contract. There are certain reasons that can postpone the completion of your project. You should negotiate everything beforehand and list these reasons in your contract. This will help you stay away from unwanted destruction process and improperly carried out demolition works.
Step 6: More Details to Go
You should take care of the renovation process and make sure that every detail specified in the contract is carried out properly. Make notes of the works performed, and don’t forget to note the time and dates of every step finished. You can also take pictures of the process and save them in case if any misunderstanding occurs.
Collect ALL correspondence and documents you exchange with the representatives of a contractor company. If needed, keep records of all your verbal exchanges and conversations. You can also warn the contractor that you will be ready to provide any documents or evidence of improperly carried out works to the court if any trouble occurs. It might stimulate the representatives of the company to be as prompt and responsible as it’s possible.
A checklist of the carried out works is important — it will help you track down the dynamics of the process. The following things should be present in your checklist:
- All kinds of carried out works mentioned in the contract;
- Lawfully and officially confirmed copies of the warranties;
- Documents proving that all payments were carried out;
- An entirely clean living space ready to be used by your family members;
- A thorough inspection of the ready-made project.
Step 7: Dealing with Troublesome Issues
Questionable circumstances are normal when it comes to complex home renovations, including custom and semi-custom solutions. The attitude of the renovation contractor company is highly important. All issues will be resolved in no time if it’s a reasonable contractor. You won’t lose your time and money with a business owner who knows how to take risky issues into consideration before the project begins.
Unfortunately, there’s a significant number of companies unable to be accountable for their actions. You’ll have to stimulate them utilizing legal strategies and operations. There are certain people and organizations that might come in handy if you have troubles with direct communication:
- State attorney;
- Builders’ association of your area;
- Better Business Bureau;
- Consumer protection office.
If all else fails, you can always go online and post your detailed reviews with the pictures so that the locals know more about the irresponsible behavior of the contractor. The fear of a spoiled reputation might work in your favor.
How to select a general contractor for hire?
Check this out:
|Trustworthy Contractor||Non-Trustworthy Contractor|
A trustworthy general home remodeling contractor in 2020 will never make you feel confused. Sacramento is a densely populated US area with great competitiveness among the building and renovation contractors. Decent companies understand that every positive review and every satisfied customer becomes a contribution to the reputation.
Word of mouth is one of the most reliable sources of information:
- Investigate the area and get in touch with the neighbors who have already been through a renovation;
- Use the internet to join the local communities and interact with people who also express interest in the renovations so that you could share experiences;
- Sign up to the newsletters from the most popular customer review platforms to be aware of the up-to-date information about the most reputable suppliers of building materials and reconstruction companies.
Hiring a Home Remodeling Contractor in 2020: FAQ
How to make up a list of the most trustworthy home remodeling contractors?
It’s a sort of homework you should deal with as responsibly as it can be. The best way is to scan for the reviews of Sacramento residents and get in touch with at least three of them. You can even offer a nominal charge or a symbolic payment to these people so that they could invest a bit of their time in a conversation with you and sharing information.
As soon as you get recommendations, check whether the company, as well as its affiliates and suppliers, are properly documented.
How can I understand whether a price is fair or not?
Start with collecting the bids from the contractors you fancy. Compare the prices, but don’t make one of the most popular mistakes:
Never choose the contractor with the lowest prices!
The truth is that a responsible contractor will never sign a contract with a client trying to cut corners on everything. A renovation project carried out with the use of cheap materials will never last long, which is a powerful blow to the reputation. If your contractor offers the lowest prices in the market, it’s highly probable that:
- It’s an indecent company interested in quantity more than in the quality;
- It’s a scam business earning their money on inexperienced clients and newcomers in the area (they are most interested in people from over-the-border who have no ideas about the local building laws).
One of the easiest ways to find out about the pricing policy of the companies is to ask for the bids and have a consultation with a professional architect. A professional like this already knows everything about the prices on tools and materials in your area. You’ll have to pay for a consultation, but it will be a reasonable investment in your perfect home renovation.
How can I find out the limits of my budget?
A regular project offered by a contractor is generally priced at a cost per square foot. The price fully depends on your choice of materials. Almost any designer and a remodeling contractor with experience will tell you that the overall price seriously depends on the finishes. Their quality is crucial when you deal with bathroom and kitchen renovations because these rooms experience the majority of traffic within the household.
The first thing you should do before you pass on to the choice of materials and calculations is measuring your living space. The most straightforward option is to hire an experienced designer. He will help you measure your home and consult you on:
- Choice of materials depending on the climatic specification of your region;
- Best ways to position your furniture and appliances basing on the existing utility systems;
- Overall price tags of the local building material suppliers and reputation of the home renovation companies;
- Laws and regulations concerning the permissions and restrictions on building and demolitions work in your area.
You’ll be surprised to know that almost every city and region has its own specifications and limits when it comes to the reconstruction of the private property. A commercial renovation is even more complicated.
Who is more important: a home remodeling contractor or an architect?
Architect. At the very beginning, you have to deal with the list of your needs. Your needs and preferences should be in line with the existing state of your living space. You shouldn’t plan the environment of your home before you study the position of the utility systems.
You’ll be surprised to know that the replacement of a couple of pipes can cost you more than a set of kitchen cabinetry because it often implies the demolition of the load-bearing walls and other elements that should be replaced for the new ones so that your house does not collapse in the future. Even a demolition process that seems to be straightforward needs a thought-out plan.
Well, architecture and overall design come first. If you have no building and reconstruction experience, an architect is a must. There are things you can do on your own using instructions from the internet and asking a couple of friends for help. Nevertheless, it’s impossible for the inexperienced homeowner to start a renovation without a detailed plan including the:
- Properly taken measurements;
- Detailed floor plans with plumbing, electricity, and ventilation included in it;
- Approximate expenses, including materials, tools, professional help, and possible risk factors.
There are general home renovation companies that already work with experienced architects in staff. Nevertheless, if you do have some spare cash, seek the help of an independent master for more substantial and unbiased advice.
How to get a contractor to deal with the project on time?
The key thing is a properly planned timeline. Everything should be discussed and considered in advance. The crucial thing is not to decide anything in the process. Every single stage should be thought over.
You should be aware of the slow-downs and the possible flaws of the materials. The crucial issue is knowledge.
You’ll have to invest your time in the studies about the quality of
materials and the problems that may occur through your building
and renovation team beforehand. Knowledge is power.
If you don’t have enough time to get involved in the process of renovation, you’ll have to hire a professional home designer who will help you cut corners where it’s possible and control every step of the process. You’ll only manage to finish the renovation on time if you control everything from A to Z.
If you feel like the process is slowing down, it’s time for a collaboration of an architect, an interior designer, and a builder within your living space. They will help you understand what is slowing the process down.
What about the electricians, plumbers, and painters?
The time to bring up certain masters to the renovation space depends on the difficulty of your project. Plumbers, electricians, as well as the other utility system masters, are recommended to be invited first. They can have a look at space and share tips on how to make a proper start. It’s very important to seek utility masters’ help if you’re an owner of an old building — you might need partial replacements.
Nevertheless, there’s nothing wrong if you ask an outside expert to come from the start. The best way is to invite all specialists to your home or commercial premises on a certain day. They will have a look at the space, take measurements, discuss everything together, and consider a thing to do first.
Are DIY options acceptable for a home renovation project?
YouTube is stuffed with numerous renovation options for the newbies. Yes, there are many projects that definitely deserve attention. Nevertheless, regardless of how appealing the project you fancy looks, study the reviews of those people who have already tested these DIY options. Not all of them work the way you see it in the videos.
We are a professional remodeling company, and our experience lets us claim that a properly carried-out project should not have DIY options in the base. If you’re inexperienced at painting and installation of the hardwood flooring, you won’t manage to deal with insulation, and your project will not last long.
Your DIY ideas can be limited to:
- Regular painting of the walls (if it’s about the bathroom, you’ll need at least a consultation first);
- Renovation of kitchen cabinetry (it should only include maintenance with proper materials and replacement of fixtures and accessories);
- Changing the pillows and furniture casing (in case if you have sufficient sewing skills);
- DIY furniture and decoration projects made from scratch (these are things that will not spoil the structural elements of your home and add a bit of charm if you’re fond of loft projects).
DIY things are always welcome if they do not affect the integrity of
your living space. Keep in mind that an improperly carried out a
DIY project might cost you more than professional remodeling
construction work because of your potential mistakes.
To Sum Up…
A choice of a contractor is time-consuming but not hard thanks to the internet and the abundance of reviews on many companies in the social media and networks. It’s impossible to hide the elephant in the room nowadays. Take your time to find out about the reputation of a home remodeling contractor and proceed with a:
- Detailed plan (including the utility systems);
- List of specifications (it’s about the finishes and accessories you’re willing to see in your renovation project);
- Renovation price (it should be done with the help of the architects and utility systems masters);
- Contractor’s insurance (it’s one of the most important issues — you won’t get your money back from an illegally working company unable to provide the clients with regular insurance);
- Contractor’s experience in the area (the best way to know more about the decency of the contractor is to have a look at the latest renovation projects);
- Satisfying interview (the contractor should demonstrate interest);
- Transparency in all matters (there should be nothing you cannot understand).
Living through a home renovation is not like living in the wild — it’s
about making an investment into your existing living or working
space. A renovation of the living space is a labor of love.