Selecting your remodeling contractor
Do you have a remodeling project in Oregon planned for your home? How will you know the remodeling contractor you select is a good decision for you and your family? I could likely write a book about how to make sure you have selected a good contractor, but instead here are some ‘Cliff Notes’ for you, or shall we call it a quick checklist?
- Check the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) for a valid license and history for your contractor. If you are working with a general contractor, make sure his/her license covers that level of liability. (Sometimes subcontractors seeking more work decide to “play” general contractor.) In the state of Oregon, you can check these things here.
- Use your instincts. This person will be in your home for some time, so make sure you like him/her. Disorganization at the first appointment generally says your project will be similiar. Is the contractor listening and understanding your desires? Are they prompt to get back with you? Are they professional? When he/she returns a bid, did they remember the details you wanted?
- Beware of a contractor that gives you a bid for a remodel without knowing the materials, the design, and your preferences. It is impossible to offer anything but a budget range to a client if you don’t know what the countertop, flooring, cabinetry, backsplash, appliances and fixtures will be in the project.
- When you can, get a referral from someone you trust. Go with someone that is known for doing good, honest work. If you are looking for the lowest bidder, reconsider. Construction and remodeling just cost what they cost. Good contractors are very close to the same final number when they both are insured and licensed, and are quoting the same job and materials. Don’t fall for the low bid – understand something will be compromised. The low bid contractor is usually missing a key part of the job, not operating his business properly, or is too inexperienced to know he is quoting in the red. Someone who goes out of business during your job because he can’t afford to pay his subcontractors or purchase your materials is no good to you.
- Do not allow anyone to begin work with you unless they provide a scope of work and materials with a firm price and schedule. Good contractors provide this in writing in my opinion. By the way, your schedule and price will change only if some unforseeable issue comes up once the remodel is in process OR you make changes to the scope or materials after the project begins.
- It is okay to ask for references. A good contractor (and interior designer) has a list ready for you and will gladly provide you references.
- Look for a contractor that is respected among their peers. Ask about affiliations and membership in organizations like the Professional Remodelers Organization (PRO), Home Builders Association of Metro Portland (HBA), and the Oregon Remodelers Association (ORA). Ask about certifications they hold and community projects they have participated. Good people with a healthy business give back to the community.
If you need a referral for a project, please ask us. We have the pleasure of working with some of the most talented, well regarded contractors in the Portland area and we’d love to give you a personal introduction.