Q: What are the questions I should ask a potential remodel contractor?
Answer: The two big factors of any remodel project are time and cost. First of all, the time element can be determined by asking the following questions:
- When can you start the project?
- When will you be able to finish it?
- What accommodations must I make in the duration of the project?
With this information you should be able to determine the duration of the project.
Second of all, you should receive a cost estimate from your contractor. If not aware already, be sure to ask about any promotions or discounts they may be offering at the time that would fit the scope of your project. You can also inquire about the ability to purchase your own materials and financing options if needed.
Most importantly, you need to feel comfortable with your new remodeling contractor. After all, they will be in your home for many hours to come during the project. Ask them for references and then contact a few of the references to get their feedback. You may also research the company to ensure their credibility via BBB and other social media.
The following are some qualification questions you might ask your remodel contractor:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you use employees or contractors for the work?
- Do you carry liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
- Will there be a project manager to manage my remodel?
Any remodeling job is a major interruption to your life as well as a significant investment in the value of your home. By asking these questions you will be able to determine if you have a compatible contractor. If these questions make them uncomfortable, then maybe you should move on to another contractor.
Q: Does every remodeling job need a government permit?
Answer: Counties and municipalities in the Tampa Bay area have established well defined building codes for their jurisdictions. Unfortunately, these codes vary based on jurisdictions. It is always best to check with your local government department to determine if your project needs a permit.
When you hire a reputable remodeling contractor, they will research and provide you with any needed permits. You should never be asked to pull your own permit when you hire a contractor to perform the work.
Q: What are the elements that affect the cost of my remodel project?
Answer: The size and scope of your project along with the age and condition of the infrastructure all have impacts on the final project cost. Remodels of older homes are typically more expensive than new home projects. Plaster is more labor intensive than drywall for example. The origin of materials also has a major price impact. Granite counters, real wood cabinets, imported wall and floor tile are high end options that can add significant amount to the cost of the project. If cost is a driving factor, you might consider less expensive material options. Remember that a remodel project will add value to your home, so choose wisely.
Q: How long will my project take to complete?
Answer: Much depends on the size and scope of your project. Many times, you may find hidden surprises during demolition. These can add time and cost to the project. It is best to be prepared to deal with such surprises and your contractor should give you the options for moving forward.
Q: Why do my three project estimates vary such a great deal in price?
Answer: First, ensure that each estimate is based on the same project scope and materials. Sometimes, estimates are vague in terms of what is included and what may be an additional cost. In these cases, it is a good idea to list your project details and provide them to potential contractors so that everyone gives you an estimate based on the same scope of work.
Secondly, while cost is a very important aspect of any remodeling project, it should not be your only consideration. You should also consider the reputation and references of each contractor. In the end, you want to deal with a company that has a solid, lengthy reputation. You don’t want to be left empty handed when a questionable contractor goes out of business halfway through the project. You also want to ensure that your contractor will be around for any warranty work after project completion.
Q: How can I properly vet a remodeling contractor?
Answer: First rule – check their reputation in the community. Read their reviews. Check their rating with the local Better Business Bureau. (Midway Services is proud of its A+ BBB rating!) Contact the office of Consumer Affairs for any performance issues. Verify their liability and worker’s compensation insurance with their carrier. Verify the contractor license with the State of Florida (Midway’s licenses – CFCA 25591 | EC13003598 | CMC1249534 | CGC1508455)