Building a bookshelf for a kids room? No sweat. Adding some garage shelves to increase storage space? You got it. Fully renovating a historic home, moving walls to open up your kitchen, or adding an additional room to your home? It’s probably time to look for a remodeling contractor.
For more ambitious projects, hiring a quality remodeling contractor is crucial. A quality contractor can help you get the most out of your budget, open your eyes to creative possibilities, and breathe new life into your home. Here are some tips to help you find the right remodeling contractor in the Harrisburg Metro area.
Do Your Due Diligence
As you begin searching for remodeling contractors in the community, utilize the vast amount of resources available to you at the palm of your hands (i.e. the internet!) With a few Google searches you’ll be able to quickly identify 5-10 remodeling contractors who service your neighborhood.
Each contractor should have a website where you can browse their portfolio of past projects, social media accounts to see what they’re currently up to, and reviews from past customers. After reviewing those resources, you’ll be able to narrow your options to 2-3 contractors to engage with.
Ask About Their Process
You should ask each contractor to explain their process to you. Pay close attention to their emphasis on planning or lack thereof. Ambitious remodeling projects require careful planning and preparation; preconstruction is where all the magic happens! Here are two key details to look for:
Are They Taking the Time to Understand Your Goals and Expectations Before Giving an Estimate?
Traditionally, the contractor who provided the lowest estimate won the most projects. For many reasons, that is not the case today. The lowest estimate, in most circumstances, is often problematic. Accurate estimates take an understanding of your goals and shared expectations of outcome. If you haven’t clarified the specifics of your project with your contractor, that gap in understanding creates room for deception.
For example, if you haven’t discussed material choices, a major factor in determining the cost of your project, a dishonest contractor could create an estimate with the cheapest materials in mind. Their bid appears cheaper on the surface, so you decide to hire them. Then you get halfway through your project, thousands of dollars already spent, and realize there’s been a huge misunderstanding. This leads to awkward conversations, excessive change orders, extended timelines, and higher costs.
To prevent this from happening, spend the necessary time upfront to clarify the specifics of your project.
Are They a Design-Build Firm?
It’s important to establish who will be in charge of each piece of the remodeling process. One of the main benefits of working with a design-build firm is having your entire team under one roof. Working through each stage of the remodeling process is smoother and streamlined.
If they’re not a design-build firm, or you have an architect/designer you absolutely love and want to work with, make sure to involve your contractor in conversations as early as possible. You want your architect/designer working in unison with your contractor; this is much easier to do with early involvement from both sides.
Those two details, especially the first, can make all the difference in a successful remodeling experience vs. a nightmare experience.
Phone or video calls with past clients are a great way to feel more confident in your choice. They can walk you through their experience, how the contractor solved their problems, the personality of the contractor (and design team if applicable), how clean they kept their job sites, and other questions you might have.
After you talk with 2-3 past clients you should start seeing some similarities in overall experience, making it easier to decide if that contractor is a good fit for your project.
Start Your Search as Early as Possible
Most homeowners reach out to contractors right before they want to start their project. The reality is, high-demand contractors are booked months in advance and won’t be able to squeeze you in at the last minute. You should be reaching out to contractors months, if not a year before you want to actually begin your project.