Bauscher Construction

Trusting Your Contractor Can Be Difficult: Here’s Our Guide To Help You With That

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How do I know I can trust a contractor in my home? Short answer, do your homework. Long answer, let’s talk about what the homework is.

This is not just the keys to a house we’re talking about, it’s the place you and your family go to feel safe and relax with some privacy from the world.  It’s your home. So when it comes to finding a contractor, it’s important to find one who understands and respects your space, your privacy, and your security. After all, you’re inviting strangers into your home for weeks or even months. Sounds just a little nerve racking doesn’t it.

With the right research, interviews, and a little intuition, the following tips will help you find a great fit who understands your needs and can put your mind at ease.

Experience

In an industry where companies routinely come and go, you’ll want to be sure you’re working with a company that has stood the test of time. Look for a company that’s been around for 10 years or more. You don’t want the new kids on the block figuring out how it all works on your project. Reputations really mean something and are earned through consistent performance and reliability.  

In addition to experience, make sure the companies you consider have experience in the type of work you’re considering. If your project is an addition, and the company you’re talking to has never built one, you might not want to be the guinea pig. Research and development are great things, but not in your backyard. Choose a contractor who has experience with projects just like the one you need, that way you’ll know you’re getting an expert in the field.

The Interview

Once you’ve identified a few companies that seem like a fit, it’s time to have a chat with them. You may be thinking “What do I even ask? I’ve never interviewed contractors before.” A great place to start is by asking them to describe their process to you. You’re going to be relying on them to guide you through a fairly complex process of design and construction, so if they don’t have a clear plan, you may be in for a bumpy ride.

Next, discuss what we call the three project objectives. Scope, timing, and budget. Do they do projects like you’re thinking of, can they do it in a timeframe that works for you, and within a cost range that fits your project budget. You may have other objectives that are important to you to add to this list, so ask about those as well. If any of these aren’t aligned, you’ve likely not found a good fit.

The two bigger picture discussions above are a great place to start. For a list of questions to help you get everything you need from a good contractor interview, check out our Questions to Ask a Remodeler document here.

Get Your Paperwork In Order

Insurance, workers compensation, contracts, project specifications, change orders, etc.. All these boring paperwork things, that you may not think of, are very important when deciding to hire a contractor. In your interview process, ask about these documents and how they are used to make the project clear for you and everyone involved. Never hire anyone without a written contract that spells out clearly what is included in the project. For more in-depth information about what should be included in this important set of documents, check out our Remodeling Roadmap ebook.

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References

Okay, so it’s kind of a no-brainer to ask for references, but what are the chances someone is going to give you a reference from someone who’ll say negative things about them? So does that make this a waste of time? Not at all, and remember, hopefully, you’re picking between a good and a great fit for your project, not a good and bad one. The trick here is to ask the right questions when you interview the references. This can be tricky. After all, it can be a little awkward to ask too many questions and make someone feel interrogated when they’re being kind enough to help you out.

Start by asking about the company’s communication practices. Were they kept informed along the way of project progress and not surprised by what was coming next? Were decisions handled in a proactive way so they weren’t rushed to make choices under the gun?

A few well-placed questions, specific enough to get you a picture of what the process was really like will help you and the reference make the conversation useful. For more tips and a list of question you can use in this conversation, check out our Questions to Ask a Remodeler’s References.

Cheapest is not always the best

Buying cheap sushi just isn’t worth the risk, and neither is hiring the cheapest remodeler. Be very cautious of choosing your remodeler based on a bid. Early bids done prior to any design work are very hard to quantify and should only be seen for what they are, an estimate. Even done correctly, which is a lot more work than most people think, a bid only tells you about the cost, not about the quality, service, friendliness, well….you get the point. Cost is definitely a piece of your decision, but just one piece, so be sure to weight out all of the factors involved. You get what you pay for, so the most important thing is to know what you’re paying for.

Read Their Reviews and Ratings

Better Business Bureau, Houzz, Google, Facebook, and testimonials are just a few places you can find reviews. Today there are lots of places to read what clients have to say about a company they’ve worked with. Take a few minutes to read them, and check them out on a few different sites. Remember, if there aren’t many reviews, there might be a reason for that. One word of caution here, as you know, anyone can write anything online, so if a remodeler has a plethora of strong reviews, and there’s just that one bad apple, they are probably not representative of the average client experience. On the other hand, if there aren’t many at all or there are several on the negative side, you may want to take notice.

Go With Your Gut

 how can I know I can trust the contractor in my home loveland oh

Don’t underestimate the power of intuition. In our data-driven review saturated world, we often don’t give enough credit to listening to our gut. If something seems too good to be true or feels a little off, listen to your gut and at least dig a bit deeper. We all have natural instincts that tell us when something just doesn’t add up. Use this guide, download the other resources mentioned earlier, and you’ll have the tools to make a smart choice.

Have other questions or comments about this topic, please leave us a note below, or give us a call or email today. We’re here to help you avoid writing your own remodeling nightmare story.

Benefit from our experience!

From inspired designs to caring craftsmanship, our team of friendly professionals will guide you through our unique process that ensures you’ll achieve your goals while keeping your sanity.

We’re proud of our team and the beautiful work they do. Give us a call or email today and experience it for yourself. We’d love to talk with you.

Living Through A Home Renovation: 5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know

In 2016 homeowners spent a record-breaking $361 billion on home improvements according to this Realtor.com report. Remodeling your home has never been more popular than it is today! If you’re thinking of tackling your own project, you probably have many questions about what it will be like to live through the process. Well, look no further, we’ll share a few things here that you may not have thought of.

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Can I live in my house while adding on?

Second only to “How much will this cost?”, one of the biggest questions we get is “Can I stay in my home during a remodeling project?”  The short answer is, probably. Most home remodel’s do not require you to move out of your home during the project. This, of course, depends on how extensive your project is, and can also depend on whether or not you or someone in your family has any allergies. See below for more on indoor air quality.

Be aware that there may be times when your water or electric may need to be shut off, but this will typically only be for a few hours at a time, not days, at a time. And since it happens during working hours, many times you and your family won’t even be home when it does.

A phase of work that might require you to move out temporarily is hardwood floor finishing. If your project includes finishing new hardwood or refinishing existing floors, you may have to move out of your home for about a week, either because of a lack of access or because of the smelly finish materials used during that process. This usually happens very close to the end of the project, and heck, what better excuse do you need for a nice little vacation?

Furniture Storage

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Oh yeah, all that furniture and décor in and around the areas of the project work, it has to go somewhere for a while. This can mean stuffing those items into another room, renting a portable storage unit, or moving them to an offsite storage facility. If packing things away in a storage unit is in your plans, you’ll want to consider that cost, and possibly moving costs, in your project budget.

Get the Lead Out

On April 22nd, 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lead Repair, Remodeling, and Painting (LRRP) regulation went into effect across the country. Misunderstood by many, and completely unknown to others, this regulation impacts thousands of homes in the Greater Cincinnati Area. It’s a bit more than we want to get into here, and if you want to find out if it affects your home check out our in-depth blog about the specifics of this regulation. You can read that post here.

Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality

Along with the possibility of lead mentioned above, there are likely to be other dust and particles in the air during a remodel that have been lying undisturbed in your home for many years. No, we’re not saying you’re a bad housekeeper, we’re talking about dust that’s trapped behind cabinetry, trim, walls, etc. Stuff you can’t get to or even see today. This can mean dusty surfaces during the project, and potentially unhealthy air quality. Just like with normal dirt and dander, you won’t want to be breathing all that stuff that can be stirred up during construction. Before work starts, stock up on filters for your furnace and plan to change them weekly during the project. This will help catch more of the dust, and keep your HVAC system running smooth and efficiently.

To fight these new and old pollutants, check out our Indoor Air Quality Blog for some tips on how to keep your air clean and healthy for you and your family.

Making Decisions in Advance vs In the Heat of the Moment

Let’s face it, living through a remodeling project is going to upset your daily routines even when it runs perfectly. Why add the stress of someone telling you on Thursday that they need you to pick out a faucet by Friday morning because the plumber is coming to install it.

When you’re interviewing remodeling contractors for your project, be sure to ask how this important process is handled. With a well defined Design-Build process, you’ll be making your design decisions in a showroom with a designer, not running out at the last minute trying to keep things moving. Making decisions on the fly almost insures that you’ll have limited choices and end up over budget. Which one sounds more relaxing to you?

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To avoid the stressful journey that most people associate with remodeling, we highly (and somewhat selfishly) recommend hiring a Design-Build firm. You’ll be able to get more of what you want in your budget, and living through the construction phase will be a lot more fun.

For more information check out our 10 Tip’s I Wish I Knew Before I Lived at Home During The Remodel.